Victims of bullying are most likely to bring weapons such as knives and guns to school, according to a study published in the journal, Pediatrics.
Researchers sifted through data from the Centers for Disease Control, looking at over 15 thousand students. They also focused on three types of weapons that could be carried into a school: guns, knives, and clubs.
“We wanted to look at those who are bringing weapons into what is supposed to be a safe space,” said study co-author Dr. Andrew Adesman, a professor of pediatrics at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.
The results showed 20 percent of the high schoolers had been targets of bullying within the past year. The authors of the study have also found that 4 percent of students admitted to carrying a weapon to school in the past month.
The CDC data suggest that more than 200 thousand victims of bullying have brought a gun or a knife to school in the past month. However, being bullied isn’t the only thing that would make teens carry weapons, according to researchers. There are three factors that link victims to bringing a weapon to school: involvement in physical fights, skipping school due to feeling unsafe, or previous physical threats from a classmate.
Researchers have found that teens who skipped school were three times likelier to carry a weapon a weapon than kids not abused. Those who fought frequently were more than five times likelier to carry a weapon.
Teens who checked all three, however, were found to be 46 percent more likely to be armed at school as opposed to kids who weren’t bullied which registered 2.5 percent.
Adesman urges parents to look for signs that their child is being bullied. These include unexplained injuries, torn clothing, reluctance to go to school or reports of fights. The doctor also said that parents are key to preventing both bullying and their kids from bringing weapons to school.
Melissa Holt, an associate professor of counseling psychology at Boston University, believes this latest study was necessary for understanding the “complexities in the link between bullying victimization and functioning”.
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