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Does NH’s bully law need more teeth?

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There is a large difference between the number of students who report bullying on surveys and the number of bullying incidents administrators report to the state.

A difference in bullying reports

According to the data schools report to the Department of Education, the percentage of high school students reporting bullying to administrators has decreased by half since 2010. In the 2016-2017 school year, about 1% of students reported bullying.

However, students self-reporting bullying on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is much higher. In 2017 21% of high school students anonymously reported being bullied on school property. That percentage has stayed almost unchanged over the past few years.

Why the difference?

Are administrators being pickier about what they define as “bullying,” or are students less likely to report bullying to administrators than they were several years ago? Without further study it is impossible to know.

Some advocates argue that the root of the problem is New Hampshire’s anti-bullying law. The law requires schools to have certain policies and procedures to deal with bullying, but there are no strong penalties for schools that fail to aggressively address bullying.

In recent years the New Hampshire Supreme Court also ruled that the state anti-bullying law also does not allow parents to sue schools over bullying.

Click here to learn more about New Hampshire’s anti-bullying law 

On the other hand, some argue that the root of the issue is poor parenting. Parents need to monitor and discipline their children and report bullying to schools when students are reluctant to do so.

Do you have an opinion on bullying in New Hampshire? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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As a parent, I'm not leaving it up to the school to protect my kid. I'm reviewing social media accounts and having regular discussions about how they're feeling and being treated in school. If teasing elevates to the level of bullying, then I'm contacting the school and the parents of the alleged bully.


Is it possible that the number of students reporting bullying to administrators has gone down because they are now more afraid to report bullying than ever before? With all the policies and procedures that are reportedly in place, it seems like the issue has become such a big deal it may deter a student from putting themselves through even more emotional pain. Unfortunately, it seems that even with laws in place to address bullying, the stigma of being bullied continues to outweigh the ability to seek help.

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