September 6, 2016
When it comes to bullying, Michigan ranks at the very top of the list as the state with the worst bullying problem in the country.
That’s according to the personal-finance website WalletHub, which conducted an in-depth analysis of 2016’s states that have the biggest bullying problems.
To identify where bullying is most pervasive, analysts compared 45 states and the District of Columbia across 17 key metrics that ranged from bullying incident rates to truancy costs for schools to percentage of high school students bullied online.
Here’s how Michigan ranked in some of those key metrics:
● Third in percentage of high school students bullied on school property.
● Fifth in percentage of high school students bullied online.
● Nineteenth in percentage of high schools students involved in a physical fight at school.
●Twenty-sixth in percentage of high school students who attempted suicide.
● Eighth in cost of truancy for schools due to bullying.
● Third in student-to-counselor ratio.
● Tenth in state anti-bullying laws and policies.
● Second in state anti-cyberbullying laws requiring school policy.
The study says that every seven minutes a child in the United States will be bullied, but only four in 100 adults will intervene. Only 11 percent of the child’s peers will do the same, with 85 percent of people doing nothing.
The National Education Association reports that more than 160,000 children miss school every day out of fear of being bullied.
The WalletHub report says bullying takes many forms, ranging from the seemingly innocuous name calling to the more harmful cyberbullying to severe physical violence.
It often happens to the most vulnerable of children, especially those who are obese, gay or have a disability.
In addition to harm to the individuals involved, school systems take a financial hit. According to a National Association of Secondary School Principals report, the average public school can incur more than $2.3 million in lost funding and expenses as a result of lower attendance and various types of disciplinary action.
But perhaps the ultimate loss anyone can experience to bullying is the death of a loved one who was tormented by bullies.
That was the case with Courtney Hood, who at 15 took her own life due to bullying. Her story, told in the website courtneycounts.com, says she was bullied throughout her whole life for being “different,” but it became worse when she entered high school.
On Aug. 15, 2013, when she could no longer take it, she took her own life, thinking that her not being here would solve the problem.
Her parents, Jim and Beckie Nicksich of Southgate, found the strength to speak out. The Riverview Community High School student’s parents formed Courtney Counts Inc., in the hope of helping others who are being bullied.
Earlier this year the organization held its second annual Anti-Bullying Awareness Walk at Heritage Park in Taylor.
Money raised by teams and businesses goes toward walk expenses, social counselors, support groups and advocates to help victims and their families affected by bullying.
The organization also is pushing for the production of new educational anti-bullying programs and updated informational material on bullying in public schools.
In your opinion, how good of a job is your State doing in regard to bullying prevention?