ATLANTA - The Governor’s Office for Children and Families promotes efforts to strengthen Georgia’s youth and families by providing information and awareness on youth development issues, such as anti-bullying. It is a staggering figure: close to five million youth in the United States have either been a victim of bullying or been a bully themselves. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, 20% of youth have reported being bullied in a school setting. Additionally, with the increase of technological access, 16% of youth have reported experiencing bullying either online or via text messaging. Victims of bullying have been shown to have an increase in depression, higher absenteeism, and higher dropout rates. In addition, youth who bullied others in middle school are shown to have at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24. Bullying is not just a national concern, it also occurs on a local level. In a recent Georgia Student Health Survey, 22% of 6th grade students reported being bullied, while 37% reported being chronically picked on.
It is evident that bullying does occur among our adolescent population but, Georgia is making strides to combat bullying with ongoing anti-bullying support. In 2010, Senate Bill 250 was passed to better define and address school bullying, strengthening Georgia’s anti- bullying laws. Georgia is also showing support to recognizing October as Anti-Bullying Awareness month.
Each community in Georgia plays an important role in helping families find the strength they need to combat the issue of bullying. To see more statistics on bullying and how to prevent this issue, see the Bullying Fact Sheet on our website at www.children.ga.gov. To learn how you can further support the anti-bullying campaign in the month of October and throughout the year, visit www.gadoe.org to access the “Bully Prevention Toolkit,” or go to the National Bullying Center Prevention website: www.pacer.com/bullying .