When adults feel that they or their loved ones are threatened, they often resort to buying a gun or applying for a permit to carry one. Probably why we shouldn’t be surprised that many kids behave pretty much the same way?
How might kids feel threatened? Bullying, of course. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), authors of a new study found that of 15,000 high school students surveyed, 20% (or 3,000) reported being targets of bullying during the previous year.
More worrisome was the fact that 4% of all students confessed to bringing a weapon to school during the previous month, with 200,000 victims of bullying admitting to carrying a knife or gun in school.
Published in the journal, Pediatrics, the study shows that the number of kids bringing a weapon to school skyrockets to a staggering 46% when a child faces the following three contributing factors:
- Involvement in a physical fight at school
- Skipping school because the child feels unsafe
- Previous threats made by classmates
“We wanted to look at those who are bringing weapons into what is supposed to be a safe space,” said study co-author Dr. Andrew Adesman, a professor of pediatrics at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.
Adesman and his colleagues acknowledged that while all victims of bullying don’t resort to bringing a weapon to school, their research demonstrated a “striking cascade of risk that is proportional to those three simple questions.”
The study’s authors also found a gender gap. While girls are more likely to report being victims of bullying, bullied boys were three times more likely to bring a weapon to school with them.
What’s a parent to do? For starters, talk to your kids and ensure you’re on the same page with your child. Numerous nonprofit organizations offer a variety of resources on the topic of bullying, including how to handle a bully, what to do if/when a child is bullied, what to look for in your own children (both in terms of being a perpetrator or victim of bullying), and more. Below are a handful of such resources.
National Association of People Against Bullying
National Bullying Prevention Center