Bullying Effects Academics, Especially for Blacks and Latinos, Study Finds

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Bullying not only causes physical and emotional damage, but victims may also suffer academically, particularly high-achieving black and Latino students, a recently presented study found.

Two sociologists discovered that the grade point average of all students who were bullied in 10th grade dropped by 12th grade, according to the Boston Herald. The GPAs of white students dropped slightly while the grade point averages of black students dropped almost one-third of a point and bullied Latinos lost half a point.

Stereotypes of minorities as being tough or street smart could be one reason to blame, Lisa M. Williams, lead author of the study and Ohio State University doctoral student, said.

“Schools may think that because students are black and Latino, they’re better able to handle bullying,” she told the newspaper, “and their schools won’t have the same type of [bullying prevention] programs.”

The study relies on nationally representative data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002.

Previously, the same two researchers found that black and Latino students who have high test scores are more likely to be harassed or teased at school. They also found that low-achieving Asian-American students were particularly vulnerable to bullying.

In the coming months, the U.S. Department of Education will begin a study that looks at how local bullying policies are put into action in several individual school districts and states and the Education Department will share the results of an analysis of current state anti-bullying laws and model policies. The department will use this information to support bullying-prevention activities.

For more information about bullying, see JJIE’s bullying and cyberbullying resources.

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