Bullying in NM Public Schools

The percentage of students who report being bullied on school grounds

Figure: Grades 6-8 (Middle School), NM

Figure: The percentage of high school students who were bullied in the last 12 months

Figure: Bullied in the last 12 months, NM and US, 2021

How is New Mexico Doing?

Overall, 41.5% of middle school student report ever being bullied on school property in 2021, a 7% decrease from 2019, and 13.6% of high school students were bullied on school property during the past 12 months, a 22% decrease from 2019. 27.1% of middle school students have ever been electronically bullied through texting or social media in 2021, a 37% increase from 2019, while 12.5% of high school students had been electronically bullied in the past 12 months, a 6% decrease from 2019. There has been no recent trend in bullying in recent years. However, skipping school because of safety issues increased by more than 100% among high school students from 2013 to 2021, and electronic bullying in middle school saw a large increase.

How does New Mexico compare to the nation?

At the high school level, NM students (14.9%) were 42% more likely to skip school because they felt unsafe at school or on their way to or from school than were US students (8.6%). The difference between NM and the US for being bullied on school property (13.6% vs. 15.0%) and being electronically bullied (12.5% vs. 15.9%) were not statistically significant. There was no national comparison for middle school data.

What does this mean?

School bullies or their victims are at risk of school dropout, poor psychosocial adjustment, criminal activity and other negative long-term consequences. Prevention and early intervention programs need to begin at preschool and elementary school; and continue through middle and high school. This is not a situation of “kids will be kids” but something parents and schools need to learn to deal with for the bullying child as well as the victim. Schools with easily understood rules of conduct, smaller class sizes and fair discipline practices report less violence. A positive school climate will reduce bullying and victimization. Statewide there are rules to address bullying but no funding for programs to address risk, including cyberspace bullying.