Written by Ryan Smith, Megan Meier Foundation Intern
For years now, we have known about the dangers of bullying for teenagers all around the world. Unfortunately, we have learned that bullying and cyberbullying are a part of the daily life for many students growing up in our school systems.
What we as a society tend to overlook is the bullying in public schools versus the bullying in private schools. For the most part, everything that we hear in the media (television, social media, etc.) is based on public school systems… but what about private schools?
To answer this question, a long five-year (2010-2014) survey was conducted. Roughly 185,000 students from both public and private schools participated in the study to help raise awareness on social trends. Here is what they found:
- Anti-bullying policy was enforced more at private than public schools.
According to the survey results, bullying was taken a lot more seriously in private schools than public schools, with 45% of public school students reporting anti-bullying policies compared to 59% of private school students reporting the same. The most logical answer for this is typically private schools are smaller with more funding, whereas public schools are larger and have less freedom to implement new policies as they please.
- Private school students are more “accepting” of their peers than public school students.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “homosexual and bisexual teens are more likely to report bullying, along with students having disabilities.” 47% of private school and only 36% of public school students who are viewed as “different” report being accepted in their environment. It’s fair to say that demographics plays a role in these trends, as public school students are much more diverse (52% white, 24% Hispanic, 16% black, 8% other) than private school students (72% white, 10% Hispanic, 9% black, 9% other).
- Peer pressure is the same, no matter where you go to school.
Surprisingly, 50% of students in both public and private schools claimed peer pressure was a problem in their environment. One observation that can be made based on these results is that peer pressure in public schools has more to do with making friends and “fitting in” while peer pressure in private schools has more to do with competitive academics.
- Social scene trends are more apparent in public schools.
Public schools tend to be more cliquey (52% of students say) than private school students (only 38%). This may be because private schools generally have smaller class sizes and fewer social groups compared to the larger class sizes and more social circles that fill a public school.
So what does this all mean?
The biggest takeaway you should have after reading this is that bullying is evident in every school, no matter public or private, although there are different factors to consider for each.
With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange