One-fourth of Massachusetts middle-schoolers and 16 percent of high school students report enduring bullying at school, says a new federal report quoted by the Boston Globe that puts the state at the center of the national discussion over the issue. The report found that students who said they had been involved in bullying, both as perpetrator and victim, were five times more likely to report they had been hurt physically by a family member. They were substantially more likely to have witnessed violence against other family members.
The study was released a year after Governor Deval Patrick signed a law requiring schools to adopt clear procedures for reporting and investigating cases of bullying, as well as methods for preventing retaliation against those who report problems. Because Massachusetts is the first state to conduct a bullying survey in this manner, it is not possible to compare the results with other states to determine whether bullying is more or less common elsewhere.