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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017

Relationships Between Victimizing Peers and Being Victimized by Peers

In addition to the teacher-reported data described previously, the ECLS-K:2011 students were asked to complete a self-administered, computerized questionnaire on a variety of topics, including the frequency with which they themselves were victimized by their peers. Students are identified in this feature as being frequently victimized by their peers if they reported that they "Often" or "Very often" experienced any one of the four types of incidents discussed previously: (1) being teased, made fun of, or called names; (2) being the subject of lies or untrue stories; (3) being pushed, shoved, slapped, hit, or kicked; and (4) being excluded from play on purpose.

Indicator SPECIAL9: Percentage of fall 2010 first-time kindergartners whose teachers reported that they frequently victimized their peers in any way in 3rd grade by frequency with which students reported experiencing different types of peer victimization, spring 2014
Indicator SPECIAL9: Percentage of fall 2010 first-time kindergartners whose teachers reported that they frequently victimized their peers in any way in 3rd grade by frequency with which students reported experiencing different types of peer victimization, spring 2014

NOTE: Estimates weighted by W7C27P_7T70. Estimates pertain to a sample of children who were enrolled in kindergarten for the first time in the 2010–11 school year. In 2013–14, most of the children were in 3rd grade, but 6 percent were in 2nd grade or other grades (e.g., 4th grade, ungraded classrooms). Students were identified as frequently victimizing others in any way if their teacher reported that they "Often" or "Very often" victimized their peers in any of four types of incidents: (1) teasing, making fun of, or calling other students names; (2) telling lies or untrue stories about other students; (3) pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting, or kicking other students; and (4) excluding other students from play on purpose.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), Kindergarten–3rd Grade Restricted-Use Data file.

  • The percentages of 3rd-graders identified by their teachers as perpetrators of any type of peer victimization incident were higher for students who reported being frequently victimized by their peers than for those who reported being victimized less frequently. For example, 12 percent of 3rd-graders who reported that they were frequently the subject of lies or untrue stories were identified as perpetrators of any type of incident, compared with 4 percent for those who did not report that they were frequently the subject of lies or untrue stories. Similarly, 12 percent of 3rd-graders who reported that they were frequently pushed, shoved, slapped, hit, or kicked by other students were identified as perpetrators of any type of incident, compared with 5 percent for those who did not report that they were frequently victimized in this manner.

The ECLS-K:2011 is the only nationally representative study with self-reported victimization data in the early grades. Data collected in this study offer a new contribution to the existing literature on peer victimization in elementary school. In addition to this special feature in America's Children 2017, the newly released Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016 includes a spotlight on the prevalence of 3rd-grade students reporting being victimized by their peers and relationships between peer victimization and academic skills. Beyond the extensive public interest in this topic, the analyses in this special feature and in the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016 spotlight provide evidence for policymakers and practitioners for use in developing effective programs and policies aimed at identifying and preventing peer victimization and bullying in elementary school. Such prevention programs are a key area of interest to federal, state, and local policymakers.

table icon SPECIAL1 HTML Table | SPECIAL2 HTML Table