Each week, the equivalent of a classroom full of American children is lost forever due to abuse, maltreatment, and neglect. It is American Society for the Positive Care of Children (SPCC) Vision and Mission to build an active, caring community, and empower youth advocacy through youth-inspired solutions to end abuse, positively affecting the welfare of children, youth, and families. Through educational resources American SPCC aims to increase awareness of child maltreatment, advocate for children’s rights, promote prudent parenting and positive discipline, and offer anti-bullying strategies. With this multi-platform approach American SPCC intends to initiate and generate a shift within societal and cultural beliefs as they relate to child maltreatment.

Please join us in our mission, and help us build a safer world for children and a more peaceful world for everyone.


We envision a society free of child abuse that promotes the positive care of children and youth and effectively addresses the epidemic of child abuse.


We empower a network of individuals and organizations dedicated to the positive physical, emotional, and intellectual development of children and youth in the United States.

:24 3:13

Parents and Bullying
Schools and Bullying
Bullying Targets and Bystanders
Bullying Statistics and Information
About Teen Suicide & Depression
Bullying Resources & Help
Some information Courtesy of StopBullying.gov


Current national statistics, according to government sources, indicate that a staggering 20% to 70% of kids have been bullied or have witnessed bullying. Most bullying happens in middle school. The most common types are verbal and social bullying. The majority of bullying still takes place at school; 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. About 28 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year.

It is reported that an average of 7.2% of students across 39 states surveyed, admit to not going to school due to personal safety concerns. Many dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers, and many more attend school in a chronic state of anxiety and depression. It’s reported by Stopbullying.gov that 70.6% (footnote #12 or click “Show” under National Statistics) of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools. While bullying can result in reluctance to go to school and truancy, headaches and stomach pains, reduced appetite, shame, anxiety, irritability, aggression and depression are also frequent effects.

What is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

10 Causes of Bullying

What makes a bully can be complex, and can include a number of factors. Some people even find themselves being occasional bullies without even realizing it. Here’s some of the things that motivate people to bully others….

  • Feeling Powerless in Their Own Lives
  • Someone Else is Bullying Them
  • Bullies are often jealous of or frustrated with the person they are bullying
  • Lack of Understanding or Empathy
  • Looking for Attention
  • Bullies come from dysfunctional families
  • Bullies need to be in control
  • Bullying behavior gets rewarded
  • Bullies don’t care how others feel
  • Bullies can’t regulate their emotions

Physical Effects of Bullying

Courtesy of Lisa Morris via kwikmed.org | What happens to us in early life has a huge impact on us in later life. Bullying is one example of something that can happen during childhood and have a knock-on effect throughout our life. Depression, difficulty with relationships and an increased likelihood of substance abuse are all long term results of bullying. However, the physical impact it can have can also be devastating and can even contribute to the development of heart problems…

Guide to Bullying Prevention

Courtesy of Kim Hart @ AAA Stay of Play | Bullying amongst children is a serious problem that is far too often written off as a rite of passage, or as “kids being kids.” It is, however, a very dangerous form of aggression that causes injuries, fear, embarrassment, reduced self-esteem, and depression in the victim. Studies have shown that bullying occurs on the playground as often as every seven minutes. In the classroom, a child is…

5 Great Tipas to Stop Bullying - A kid's Perspective

Tip 1: Be kind to the person being bullied. :1:07

Tip 2: Tell a trusted adult, like a family member, teacher or coach. 1:20

Tip 3: Help Them Get Away from the Situation. . :44

TIP #4 Set a good example. Do not bully others. :1:33

TIP #5 Don’t give bullying an audience. :52

“Bully Free“


Parents and Bullying

If your child is the target of bullying and appears anxious, sad, ill, has difficulty sleeping, or exhibits other worrisome behaviors, contact his or her doctor and a mental health counselor immediately.

Model How to Treat Others with Kindness and Respect

Kids learn from adults’ actions. By treating others with kindness and respect, adults show the kids in their lives that there is no place for bullying. Even if it seems like they are not paying attention, kids are watching how adults manage stress and conflict, as well as how they treat their friends, colleagues, and families.

Parents Play Key Role

Parents play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is involved in bullying, there are several resources that may help.

  • Recognize the warning signs that your child is involved in bullying. They could be being bullied, bullying others, or witnessing bullying. Although these signs could signal other issues, you should talk to your child if they display any sort of behavioral or emotional changes. Many times kids won’t ask for help, so it is important to know what to look for. If your child is at immediate risk of harming himself or others, get help right away.
  • Learn what bullying is and what it is not. Understanding what bullying is is the first step in forming a plan to prevent or respond to bullying with your child. Many behaviors that look like bullying may be just as serious, but may require different response strategies. You can also learn about:
    • The frequency of bullying;
    • Who is at risk for being bullied and bullying others; and
    • The effects of bullying
  • Cyberbullying often requires different strategies than in-person bullying. Learn how to work with your kids to prevent cyberbullying and how to respond when it occurs.
  • Utilize tips and tools to talk to your child about bullying. Opening lines of communication before your child is involved in bullying makes it easier for them to tell you when something happens. It is also important to work with a school to help prevent bullying before it starts.
  • If you know or suspect bullying has occurred, learn how to find out what has happened with your child. Understanding what has happened can also help in communicating with school or community officials about the situation.
  • If you have determined bullying has occurred, learn how you and school or community officials can work together to support your child, whether they were bullied, bullied others, or witnessed bullying. Learn also about considerations for specific groups.
  • If bullying is occurring at school, learn about what your state requires schools to do in your state’s anti-bullying law. Learn also about federal laws that require schools to address harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, and disabilities and ways to report situations that have not been adequately addressed to the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice.
  • If you have worked with your child and your school and need additional assistance, find resources to help address the situation.

Keep Up To Date With Kids’ Lives

There are simple ways that parents and caregivers can keep up-to-date with kids’ lives.

  • Read class newsletters and school flyers. Talk about them at home.
  • Check the school website
  • Go to school events
  • Greet the bus driver
  • Meet teachers and counselors at “Back to School” night or reach out by email
  • Share phone numbers with other kids’ parents

Schools and Bullying

For the school, the costs of bullying are countless hours consumed in tackling a problem that is resistant to change, truancies, reduced student retention, low teacher morale, negative perceptions of the school by the wider community and parent hostility. The school campus becomes a place where many kids are marginalized and where no-one feels safe. As students become alienated from school, academic performance declines. Schools are increasingly sued for failing to provide a safe learning environment and are being held liable for the harassment, violence and suicides caused by bullying.

Schools are a primary place where bullying can happen. Helping to establish a supportive and safe school climate where all students are accepted and knowing how to respond when bullying happens are key to making sure all students are able to learn and grow. There are many tools on StopBullying.gov specific for teachers, administrators, and other school staff.


Bullying Targets and Bystanders

Students on the sidelines (the “bystanders”) commonly report extreme discomfort at witnessing bullying, but say that they do not know how to prevent it. Many are silenced by their fear that they will be the next target of bullying if they dare to speak out. Often they grow up believing that they are powerless to stop abusive behaviors in others.

  • If you or a child is at immediate risk of harm because of bullying: Call 911.
  • If you know of a child/teenager who is feeling suicidal because of bullying, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • If a teacher does not seem to be helping to keep a child safe from being bullied, contact the school’s principal, superintendent or other school administrator.
  • If the target of bullying appears anxious, sad, ill, has difficulty sleeping or exhibits other worrisome behaviors, contact his or her parent, counselor, doctor and a mental health counselor immediately.
  • If a child is bullied because of their race, ethnicity, or disability, and local resources do to adequately address the problem: Contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Civil Rights.
  • If you are being bullied, know of or suspect someone who is being bullied, and you would like additional information, click on the link below. http://www.stopbullying.gov/topics/civil_violation/index.html

No Winners

While the target of the bullying bears the brunt of the harm, everyone is impacted by it. Students who habitually bully miss the opportunity to learn an alternative to aggression. Research tells us that they often develop a habitual tendency to abuse power and are increasingly shunned as they reach the higher grades. Approximately 25 percent of school bullies will be convicted of a criminal offense in their adult years.

Bullying Statistics and Information

About 28 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school4 during the school year, according to the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2013 report, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and National Center for Education Statistics Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The majority of bullying still takes place at school; 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school, according to the DHHS.

It is reported in the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — 2013 report, that on average across 39 states survey, 7.2% (range: 3.6%1 – 13.1%) of students admit to not going to school due to personal safety concerns. Many dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers, and many more attend school in a chronic state of anxiety and depression. It’s reported that 70.6% (footnote #12 or click “Show” under National Statistics) of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools. While bullying can result in reluctance to go to school and truancy, headaches and stomach pains, reduced appetite, shame, anxiety, irritability, aggression and depression are also frequent effects.

“Children cannot get a quality education if they don’t first feel safe at school.” Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

“160,000 kids per day do not attend school for fear of being bullied.” -U.S. Dept. of Justice2

“The child who is overweight is the most likely to be bullied.” Journal of Pediatrics

Risk Factors

No single factor puts a child at risk of being bullied or bullying others. Bullying can happen anywhere—cities, suburbs, or rural towns. Depending on the environment, some groups—such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) youth, youth with disabilities, and socially isolated youth—may be at an increased risk of being bullied.

Federally Collected Data Reports

The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that 20% of students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying nationwide.

The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that 28% of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying nationwide.

National Statistics

Been Bullied
  • 28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying
  • 20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.

Bullied Others

Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others in surveys.

Seen Bullying

  • 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.
  • 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.
  • When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.

Been Cyberbullied

  • 6% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying.
  • 16% of high school students (grades 9–12) were electronically bullied in the past year.
  • However, 55.2% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.


Teen Suicide & Depression

Check out the helpful video below. It is used by schools to increase awareness of teen depression. Various teens talk about their experiences with depression. By breaking out of their isolation and silence, they are now happier due to support from others and/or counseling.


Did you know?

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined.
  • It results in approximately 4600 lives lost each year.
  • Each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 suicide attempts by young people grades 7-121.
  • Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.
  • Kids who are bullied are more than twice as likely to consider suicide, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

(Information courtesy of kids.gov, nimh.nih.gov, samhsa.gov, cdc.gov, AMA.)

Help Prevent Bullying with the KnowBullying App

KnowBullying by SAMHSA is a free app that encourages conversation between you and your children. The time you spend will build their self-esteem and help them face bullying—whether they are being bullied, engaging in bullying, or witnessing bullying. Download the app: http://store.samhsa.gov/apps/bullying/. Download the app.

Astronaut Scott Kelly Speaks Out Against Bullying

Bullying, Harassment, & Civil Rights 12:32

An Overview of School Districts’ Federal Obligation to Respond to Harassment

This video has been developed as part of collaboration among the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. The video is designed to help schools, parents, and others who interact with kids understand the differences between harassment and bullying, and their legal obligations with respect to both.

Schools have a responsibility to create safe learning environments for all students. When harassment is based on a protected class and creates a hostile environment, schools have an obligation under federal civil rights laws to take action. Please use the resources identified in this video to support your own efforts to address harassment and help us all build safe, supportive learning environments for our young.

Video Script (PDF-62 KB)

Non-DVI Version of Video

Related Resources

Bullying and Civil Rights: An Overview of School Districts' Federal Obligation to Respond to Harassment Webinar

Dear Colleague Letter

Labels Don't Define You - 2 :27

This is the second in our series of label animation videos.

Labels can be harmful to kids. Every label sends a message that tells children how to think about themselves. Too often, these labels can be hurtful, and both positive and negative labels can cause problem

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