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Friday, 5 November 2010

The high price of bullying in the US

Bullying- a serious problem which affects the most vulnerable and  youngest students at schools all over the world

Around one-fifth of high school students say they experience bullying in the US

A global report on school violence identifies bullying as the biggest problem in US school playgrounds.
Slut. Fat. Gay. Those are some common words - weapons - America's youth uses to target each other in bullying.
A global report released on Monday by children's development organisation Plan International gauges the economic impact of school violence, which it categorised as corporal punishment, sexual abuse and bullying.
The US pays a high price for its youth violence, both in and out of schools. Plan estimated the total cost of all forms of youth violence at $158bn (£100bn).
Counting the cost
Bag of money
Plan International and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) calculated the cost of school violence in 13 countries to be $60bn in the following way:

By following the same model used to calculate other violence
By looking at the lost earnings of a person who misses school or drops out because of school violence.
By measuring the loss in public spending on education because of violence-related absenteeism

However, the report also recognises a huge gap in data. School violence is "notoriously under-reported" and a lot of costs are difficult to tally up.

Pervasive problem
At schools around the world, the playground is far from the innocent haven where the ring of a school bell signals the start of children's laughter.
Instead, for too many, it becomes an ugly arena where spectators can watch youngsters pit themselves against each other.

Some 20% to 65% of children worldwide say they suffer from bullying, but that proportion may be higher because school violence is "notoriously under-reported", the report says.

In the US, around a fifth of high school students said they experienced repeated, intentional bullying, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

"Younger kids are more likely to be bullied and prevalence tends to be higher in middle school," said Marci Hertz, an adviser at CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health.

Bullying also tends to be higher among girls, she says.
"It seems to be a very pervasive problem."
Indeed, the prevalence of bullying is so high that CDC treats it as a public health issue.

"As a result of being bullied, you don't attend school, you're losing the opportunity to learn," says Julie Hertzog, director of the National Center for Bullying Prevention run by the Pacer children's organisation.
One way that Plan calculated the cost of school violence was to look at the potential income a person lost because of missed schooling.

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