Glenna Crooks

Early in my career, I was a School Psychologist. My role at the time involved helping children with special needs by figuring out how they learned best and coaching teachers and parents to do likewise.

In all those years, I never received a referral for bullying behavior or victimization. In recent years, as bullying has reached headlines, as a health policy analyst, I’ve noted the health-related consequences: physical complaints, depression, insomnia, nightmares and even, suicide.

Recently, I saw reports of other costs I want to share. Data from California showed that among 7th, 9th and 11th graders, 10.4% of kids missed school because they felt unsafe from bullying.

Since schools are funded based on attendance rates, those missed school days cost California schools $276 million annually in lost income from the State. About half of that cost was due to bias-based bullying, for race/ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

It’s not just bullies and those they bully who are impacted, it’s all students. Knowing this makes mental health and other prevention programs all the more important.

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