Anti-bullying campaigns may be in full-swing nationwide, but school children are still being seriously injured at an alarming rate on school property, according to a new study. Each year, more than 90,000 kids are sent to the ER over "intentional" injuries.
Published in medical journal Pediatrics, the study used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to quantify statistics about when our children are being bullied and how. Researchers found that of the 7,397,201 injuries that occur on school grounds each year, about 10 percent (or 736,014) are a direct result of bully behavior.
That bullying often results in observable injuries, the most common of which are cuts and bruises at 40 percent. Fractures (12 percent), brain injuries (10 percent) and sprains (7 percent) also accounted for large proportions of the injuries school children suffer at the hands of their bullies. What's more, 96 percent of those recorded injuries occurred as a result of an assault from a friend or acquaintance. Some 10 percent of incidents included multiple assailants.
However, there was a slight decrease in the number of intentional injuries over the past 10 years. But, says study co-author Dr. Siraj Anamullah, that decrease was so small, it may as well not have happened. As he told NBC:
"We were surprised," Amanullah said. "With so much emphasis on school safety and bullying now, we expected a bigger decline. Ninety-thousand per year is quite huge."
Part of that lacking decrease largely has to do with identifying the causes for the level of bullying we see on average. For researchers, a large problem is the fact that bullying remains intensely underreported due to the reluctance kids have to tell adults about their problems at school.
Another issue, perhaps not surprisingly, is the role models kids have themselves. In fact, a separate study in the same issue of Pediatrics reports that 45 percent of school-aged children report "verbal misconduct by coaches, including name-calling and insulting them during play."
So, in that sense, it's not our kids that have the problem, per se. It's us.