An illusion. That’s how a University of Virginia study describes the perceived link between large high schools and higher student victimization of bullying.
A November 2010 Journal of Educational Psychology article entitled, “Is the link between large high schools and student victimization an illusion?,” reports the rate of bullying offenses was actually lower in larger schools. Similar findings were made about student threats and physical assaults, according to a journal abstract.
While the total number of incidents may be higher in high schools, the study found the rate was actually lower. This finding is counter to the often-perceived idea that larger schools equate to higher victimization.
Research by staff at the Virginia Youth Violence Project has also found that a combination of strict discipline (high structure) and a supportive climate (high support) is also associated with lower levels of bullying and victimization. This reinforces my long-time belief that a balanced approach of discipline and climate strategies, not discipline or climate strategies, is the most effective approach to improving school safety.
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