One in every five middle and high school students has complained of being bullied at school and the number of reports of sexual assault on college campuses has more than tripled over the past decade, says a federal study released today, the Associated Press reports. “There are areas of concern in terms of bullying and rates of victimization being high,” said Lauren Musu-Gillette, an author of the report by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Justice Department. “We are seeing a long term decline, but we still want people to be paying attention to areas where rates are still high.” Even though the overall prevalence of bullying has been declining in American schools over the past decade, 21 percent of students aged 12-18 reported being bullied in 2015, the report found. The picture was bleaker for gay, lesbian and bisexual students. Thirty-four percent of students who identified as LGBT complained of bullying, compared to 19 percent who identified as heterosexual.
“It’s a high number and a disproportionate number in comparison. We still have a lot of homophobic bias and it plays itself in schools,” said Charol Shakeshaft, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Those students are singled out and isolated and harassed.” Shakeshaft lamented the Trump’s administration decision earlier this year to rescind Obama-era guidance on the use of bathrooms and other facilities for LGBT students, which she said helped them feel safer. When rescinding the guidance the Education and the Justice departments said such decisions should be left to the states.