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Capitol Health Call
July 11, 2012

School Bullying

JAMA. 2012;308(2):123. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.7885

Millions of children and adolescents are estimated to be subject to bullying in schools, and the extent of legal protections for vulnerable groups needs to be more fully assessed, reported the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in a June 7 release (http://tinyurl.com/82ga4oe).

The GAO found that nationally representative surveys conducted from 2005 to 2009 suggest that up to 28% of youth, primarily at the middle school and high school levels, reported having been bullied during the survey periods. But the GAO noted that differences in definitions and questions posed to youth make it difficult to discern trends and affected groups. For example, the surveys did not collect information about respondents' sexual orientation or gender identity. The GAO also noted that the departments of Education and Health and Human Services are partially addressing the issue by collaborating with other federal departments to develop a uniform definition of bullying that can be used for research purposes.

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