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School Climate is Key Factor in Bullying Prevention

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

WASHINGTON - October 01, 2013 -

With nearly one-third of students reporting being bullied in school and nearly half of adolescents and teens saying they have been bullied online, bullying has reached epidemic levels, especially as some studies connect bullying with suicidal thoughts. And educators are stepping up to meet this challenge. In a 2011 National Education Association member survey, 98 percent of educators agreed they play a vital role in bullying prevention.

“NEA members across the country are stepping up and embracing their responsibility to protect students and end bullying in our schools. From teachers and bus drivers, to office staff and custodians, we are the eyes and ears in our schools, and we’re saying enough is enough. Every child deserves to learn and grow in a safe, caring environment,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

Additional research ( PDF) suggests that all stakeholders in a school’s community must be engaged to effectively prevent bullying and ensure the school climate, the quality and character of school life, is not conducive to bullying behavior. To meet that goal, NEA will assemble researchers, policy makers, practitioners and other key education stakeholders October 8 in summit in Washington, D.C during National Bullying Prevention Month to discuss concrete ways to make our schools safer for all students.

“This critical issue is on the minds of students, parents, educators and community members, and in the media as well. We know we have a serious problem on our hands and we are taking the next steps to create a systemic change in all our schools,” said Van Roekel.

According to a 2011 NEA survey of educators:

  • Teachers and support professionals report that bullying based on a student’s weight (23%), gender (20%), perceived sexual orientation (18%) or disability (12%) were of concern in their school.
  • Verbal bullying (59%) is the most common form of bullying in schools, followed by social/relational (50%), physical (39%), and cyberbullying (17%).

Other studies reveal the following key facts:

  • 60% of students with disabilities report being bullied regularly compared with 25 percent of all students.
  • In 2011, a higher percentage of students reported notifying an adult after being bullied at school than after being cyberbullied anywhere (40 vs. 26 percent).
  • 31.8% of LGBTQ students missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe.
  • In 2011, about 28 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year.

NEA has developed a comprehensive plan to combat bullying in our schools, and more than 40,000 NEA members have taken the Bully Free: It Starts With Me Pledge. Signers receive NEA’s Bullying Prevention poster, window cling and button, and access to other free resources, such as the Bully Free Kit. All resources, tools, and training materials to help educators stop bullying behaviors and create a positive learning environment can be found at

Through NEA’s online resources and on-the-ground trainings provided by NEA’s Human and Civil Rights team at the school, district, state, association and national levels, NEA members in all 50 states are making a difference.

For more information and to take NEA’s Bully Free: It Starts With Me Pledge, please go here.


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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing
more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson
(202) 822-7823,