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Parents, Students Report Different Rates of Bullying

There is a wide gap in bullying rates estimated by parents and students.

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About 70 percent of parents across the U.S. say that their child has been bullied on school grounds, according to a new survey sponsored by ADT Security Services and the Cherokee County, Ga., school district—a percentage much higher than students report.

The survey, conducted by parental protection website safetymom.com, included parents of 520 students of all grade levels. In comparison, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported last month that approximately a quarter of high school students were bullied during the 2008-2009 school year, according to a student survey.

Not only are parents reporting higher rates of bullying, but their concerns are almost diametrically opposed to that of students. Parents surveyed by Safety Mom believe their children are safest in the classroom and most in danger of bullying while riding the school bus; conversely, students surveyed by NCES said they were most likely to be bullied in the hallways, stairwells, or classrooms, and were less commonly bullied on the bus or in the cafeteria.

Most concerning to parents was the likelihood of their child getting bullied by another student. Parents were less concerned about more extreme—but unlikely—situations, such as a school shooting or hostage situation in schools.

Parents were also concerned about their children being bullied online. For those who are seeking help, a national "Stand Up, Not Stand By" campaign to help parents, educators, and students curb cyber bullying was launched Monday by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping young people safe online.

[Learn how cyber bullying is getting more malicious.]

The campaign includes a cyber-bullying toolkit with lesson plans for teachers to start a dialogue with their students about virtual threats, as well as an online resource center for parents who are looking for ways to help their children.

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