Reducing Bullying in Schools

Bullying affects nearly one in three American schoolchildren in grades six through ten. One of the hardest parts of stopping the bullying is making sure it is safely reported and addressed in a timely and effective manner. Six out of ten teenagers say they witness bullying in school once a day, yet many cases go unreported.
People Impacted
$ 2T
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Nature and Context

Bullying has serious side effects — students who are targets experience extreme stress that can lead to symptoms of physical illness and a diminished ability to learn. Schools have come under fire recently for not doing enough to prevent student suicides related to bullying in schools, and because bullying is becoming even harder to track. Instituting a secure, and anonymous if necessary, way to report bullying could help keep students safe (Business Insider).

Symptoms and Causes

Dependence on enrollment rates limits schools abilities to enforce expulsions and suspensions:

American schools receive funding based on the number of students attending full time. If a school were to expel all the troublemakers, then the school would get less funding. This creates an economic incentive for public schools to retain problem students, even when they harm other.

There is no unified federal approach to addressing bullying:

There is no federal anti-bullying law. Although all states have anti-bullying legislation, bullying is not illegal. This means ways of addressing bullying behavior can be unclear and inconsistent.

There is little to no counseling or follow up on behavior for the victims or bullies:

Many schools have failed to effectively follow up on reports of bullying, and maintain that follow up until the case si fully resolved. This means bullying can become repetitive, taking a more severe tole on the victims psyche, as well as encouraging the continued behavior of the bully.

Bullying isn't always direct and obvious:

Bullying takes all sorts of shapes and styles, and with the advent of technology, has become prevalent not only in schools but online as well, making it harder to track and effectively address.

the impact
Negative Effects

Kids Who Are Bullied

Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, social, emotional, academic, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience (Stop Bullying):

  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.

  • Health complaints

  • Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

Kids Who Bully Others

Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to (Stop Bullying):

  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults

  • Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school

  • Engage in early sexual activity

  • Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults 

  • Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults

Economic Impact

Studies show women who were frequently bullied during childhood have lower earnings and are more likely to accumulate less wealth in the form of savings. As for men, they are found to be at greater risk of being unemployed, also having lower odds of owning a property. Regarding societal impact factors, being frequently bullied in childhood id found to be associated with higher employment related costs for men and higher health service related costs for women (Brimblecombe, Evans-Lacko,Knapp, King, Takizawa, Maugh Arsene).

Success Metrics
  • Instituting a national protocol on how to address different types of bullying that can be implemented on cases of bullying in every school district.

  • Eliminating the taboo associated mental health and counseling so people can freely be referred to external sources of help.

  • Providing access to apps and programs that help discretely report and address bullying for teachers, students, and parents.

who benefits from solving this problem
Organization Types
  • School Districts

  • Educational Institutions

  • Counseling Services

  • Teachers

  • Parents

  • Students

  • Superintendents

  • Counselors

financial insights
Current Funding
  • State Education Funds

  • Federal Education Funds

  • Private Grants and Aid Programs

Potential Solution Funding
  • Federal and State Budgets

  • United to End Bullying (UEB) Grant Program 

  • Carolyn Foundation

Ideas Description

Creating Apps and implementing technology that combats bullying in person and online:

Groupcall Limited created and launched BATline (Bully Action Team), a new service that provides schools with a dedicated incoming text number. It allows any learner, parent or stakeholder to report bullying or an incident to the relevant person within the school.

Companies like NetSupport are creating software solutions designed to help schools stop bullying events before they start, and respond appropriately to bullying that becomes fully realized.

Tech Solutions

Real Talk app crowdsources authentic teen stories on topics like puberty, bullying, identity, and mental health and connects teens with additional resources.

We Said Enough creates a community of survivors, volunteers, and activists who can provide immediate social support to victims of sexual harassment, abuse, and bullying. The app provides needed restorative resources to begin the healing process.