All About School Bullying Surveys for Students: Purpose, Importance, and More

The topic of bullying is not a new development in the school environment; bullying in various forms has been a significant problem affecting students of all ages for decades. According to an article in the School Psychology Review, 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.[1] Similarly, a large-scale study found that about 49% of children in grades 4-12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month.[2]
The clear prevalence of bullying as a pervasive issue in schools across the country necessitates that educators take action to stop and prevent bullying within their educational spheres. The first step to ending bullying is identifying the presence of it in an environment and students’ attitudes towards it. One popular method by which decision-makers can evaluate rates of and perceptions about bullying is through school bullying surveys for students.

The Purpose & Goals of Student Bullying Surveys

The primary purpose of a student bullying survey is to identify and quantify a number of factors–rates of bullying, student and staff attitudes towards bullying, different types of bullying occurring, and more—in order to address them. They “help schools determine the frequency and locations of bullying behavior. They can also gauge the effectiveness of current prevention and intervention efforts, which can help school staff select appropriate prevention and response strategies.”[3] By collecting this valuable information, schools can then create an accurate picture of bullying in their specific environments. Bullying surveys help administrators and decision-makers:

  • • “Know what’s going on. Adults underestimate the rates of bullying because kids rarely report it and it often happens when adults aren’t around. Assessing bullying through anonymous surveys can provide a clear picture of what is going on.
  • • Target efforts. Understanding trends and types of bullying in your school can help you plan bullying prevention and intervention efforts.
  • • Measure results. The only way to know if your prevention and intervention efforts are working is to measure them over time.”[4]

 

What Student Bullying Questionnaires Measure

While different types of bullying surveys may cover a variety of specific and non-specific topics, examples of bullying-related topics that these questionnaires can explore include:

  • • Frequency and types of bullying
  • • Adult and peer responses to bullying
  • • Locations, including “hot spots” for bullying activity
  • • Staff perceptions and attitudes about bullying
  • • Aspects of the school or community that may support or help stop bullying activities
  • • Student perception of safety in the school
  • • Overall school climate5]

Similarly, the types of questions asked in a student survey about bullying have the potential to vary dramatically. Sample questions that might be posed include:

  • • How many times in the last 30 days has another student shoved or hit you?
  • • How many times in the last 30 days have other students used the Internet or cell phones to tell lies about you, embarrass you, or threaten you?
  • • Do you feel that your school has a problem with students spreading rumors or lies about students they are mad at or don’t like?
  • • How true is this statement for you: I can go to a teacher to get help solving problems at home or school.
  • • In your school, how safe do you feel in the halls?[6]

As mentioned above, each school environment is unique, and there are many different types of bullying surveys that can be used. Some are fairly general, covering everything from rates of many different forms of bullying to overall school climate, while others are highly specific, such as one measuring the effectiveness of an in-place cyberbullying prevention program for specific grade levels.

The Importance of Bullying Surveys

School bullying surveys for students are important because bullying in all forms can have a seriously detrimental, long-term impact on not only the victim, but also on other students exposed to the activities.[7]

  • • Students who are bullied can experience a range of effects lasting long past grade-school days, including depression, low self-esteem, health problems, poor grades, and suicidal thoughts.[8]
  • • Students who bully others are more likely than their peers to feel disconnected from and dislike school, get into fights, steal and vandalize property, exhibit violent behavior, drink alcohol, and smoke.[9]
  • • Students who observe bullying in the school environment experience negative effects such as reluctance to attend school, feelings of fearfulness, increased mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, and increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs.[10]

Bullying can have a far-reaching impact on the overall climate of the school and community as well.[11] Schools where bullying is allowed to occur unchecked often face:

  • • An educational environment filled with fear and disrespect.
  • • Students who experience significant learning difficulties.
  • • Students who feel insecure and/or who dislike school.
  • • A widespread student perception that administrators and teachers have little control over bullying and the environment at large and/or that authority figures do not care about them.[12]

Because studies report that only an estimated 36% of bullying is reported to a teacher or parent[13], schools may have a bullying problem that the adults in the environment are not even aware of.
That’s a primary reason why student bullying surveys are so critical—they offer invaluable, actionable information to help decision-makers identify any problems present and take steps to address them.

Choosing a Student Bullying Survey for Your School

When it’s time to choose a bullying survey for your students, it’s important to know what your goals are and what you hope to achieve with your results. It’s equally important to find a survey that is valid, reliable, and real-world tested.
Partnering with an experienced school survey company can make the entire surveying process easier and more affordable from start to finish. At Pride Surveys, we have been helping schools survey their students on bullying, substance abuse, school climate, mental health, and more for over thirty years.
Ready to learn more? Find out about the many benefits of choosing Pride for your surveying needs and how to choose the best school survey for your students. Questions? Give us a call at 800-279-6361 or contact us online.


[1] Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36(3), 361-382.

[2]Ibid.

[3]“Assess Bullying: What an Assessment Can Do.” StopBullying.gov. Retrieved from https://www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/at-school/assess-bullying/ on November 2, 2016.

[4]Ibid.

[5]Ibid.

[6]Social, Emotional and Bullying Behavior Study: Grades 6-9.” Pride Surveys. Retrieved from http://www.sebbsurvey.com/assets/Bully-130822final_watermark.pdf on November 2, 2016.

[7] 1 C. Salmivalli, K. Lagerspetz, K. Björkqvist, K. Osterman, and A. Kaukiainen, “Bullying as a Group Process: Participant Roles and Their Relations to Social Status within the Group,” Aggressive Behavior 22 (1996): 1-15.

[8]“How Bullying Affects Children.” Violence Prevention Works! Retrieved from http://www.violencepreventionworks.org/public/bullying_effects.page on November 2, 2016.

[9]“The Impact of Bullying.” Bully Stoppers. Victoria State Government. Retrieved from http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/bullystoppers/Pages/impact.aspx on November 3, 2016.

[10]Ibid.

[11]“How Bullying Affects Children.” Violence Prevention Works! Retrieved from http://www.violencepreventionworks.org/public/bullying_effects.page on November 2, 2016.

[12]Ibid.

[13]Petrosino, A., Guckenburg, S., DeVoe, J., & Hanson, T. Institute of Education Sciences, (2010). What characteristics of bullying, bullying victims, and schools are associated with increased reporting of bullying to school officials? Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/regions/northeast/pdf/REL_2010092_sum.pdf



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