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Most Parents Worried About Bullying in U.S. High Schools

Safety, security are concerns for two-thirds with children in secondary school, survey finds

SUNDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A new national survey finds that only about one in four U.S. parents say their child's high school deserves an "A" for its bullying- and violence-prevention efforts. But nearly four in 10 gave an "A" grade for such efforts at their child's elementary or middle schools.

"What this poll shows is that parents are still very concerned about bullying in their schools," said Dr. Matthew Davis, director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, in a university news release.

Last May, researchers asked 1,087 parents across the United States about how they would grade their child's school in five categories: safety of the school overall, building security, bullying and school violence prevention, safety during school-wide emergencies, informing parents of school-wide emergencies.

In regard to overall safety, 59 percent of parents gave their child's elementary or middle school an "A" grade, but only one-third of those gave an "A" when asked about their child's high school, the survey found.

As for building security, nearly half gave their child's elementary or middle school an "A" grade, but only one-third of those said their child's high school deserved an "A" grade.

What can parents who are concerned about bullying do to improve the situation? If the school or community has a bullying and violence prevention program, parents should get involved, Davis recommended. If such a program doesn't exist, concerned parents should contact their local legislators to advocate for putting this type of program in place.

And, in the meantime, "parents can listen to their kids, who are their eyes and ears in the schools, especially about issues of bullying," Davis said. "It can be really hard for children to bring up the topic of bullying so parents may need to ask directly about it and make home a safe place to talk about this important problem."

More information

Learn more about bullying from the University of Michigan.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, Sept. 8, 2009

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