News Article


Strategies to Prevent Bullying of Youth at High Risk

No single factor puts a child at risk of being bullied or bullying others. Bullying can happen anywhere - at school, parks, in after school programs, or online. Depending on the environment, some youth are at higher risk for bullying. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth, youth with disabilities, children who are overweight or underweight, and youth from a minority race, ethnicity, or religion may be at an increased risk of being bullied. Because they are often perceived as being different by their peers, children with special health care needs are also at higher risk of being targeted.

For example, results from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that nationwide, more U.S. high school students who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) report having been bullied on school property (33%) and cyberbullied (27.1%) in the past year than their heterosexual peers (17% and 13.3% respectively).

To help make schools safe and more inclusive for all students, teachers can implement social emotional learning. Activities that foster peer relationships and help build understanding and empathy contribute to a positive school climate. They can engage students in developing high-interest activities where everyone has a role to play in designing, executing, or participating. Conducting team-based learning activities that rotate student groupings can help to link students with peers outside their social group. Implementing buddy systems for children with special needs will connect them with supportive peers. Parents can role model and teach moral engagement to foster empathy, kindness, and inclusion of others by their children. has resources for teachers, parents, and youth on bullying prevention. The Bystanders are Essential to Preventing Bullying Fact Sheet has tips for bullying intervention. Teachers and parents can use Preventing Bullying Through Moral Engagement to help foster empathy in youth.      

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