The Effects of Bullying in Secondary School Students

Written by lauralee moss
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The Effects of Bullying in Secondary School Students
Bullying leads to feelings of loneliness. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Bullying is a common occurrence in school: the American Academy of Child and Adult Psychiatry (AACAP) states that about half of all students are bullied during their academic careers while the website reports that 56 per cent of students have personally witnessed bullying at school. The types of bullying are diverse, from verbal to physical. Attacks can take place anywhere, from cyberspace to lunchrooms. Such troubling facts can lead to numerous debilitating effects of bullying in secondary school students.

Poor School Performance

Bullying leads to poor school performance on the part of everyone. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan notes that bullying "can disrupt an environment conducive to learning." Bullied students focus on avoiding their tormentors, not on school work. Bullies concentrate on avoiding authority while focusing on their next attack. Other students worry they may be victimised next. They may also report the abuse, which is a significant decision for students to consider. Finally, teachers spend time protecting and reporting bullying situations, rather than teaching, which leads to decreased learning time.

The Effects of Bullying in Secondary School Students
Bullying can happen anywhere, at any time. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Leaving School

According to, teenagers who are harassed and those who witness attacks are more likely to miss, skip or drop out of school. Secondary school students are old enough to find transportation away from school. They can also feign illnesses or forge excuse notes. High school students have different teachers for each class, so they can leave with little notice. Teenagers ultimately can sign themselves out of school permanently. Students will leave school as a form of self-protection.


Not only is bullying a form of misbehavior, it also creates an overall hostile environment. The school environment becomes one where name-calling, shoving, pushing and rumour-spreading is commonplace. Bullying prevents an atmosphere of safety and trust; instead, students act out to test boundaries and to become accepted through misbehavior. Furthermore, according to, students under harassment are likely to react in violent ways, sometimes misbehaving out of frustration or for revenge.


The AACAP reports that some victims of bullying attempt suicide rather than endure the continued harassment and abuse. An inherent part of bullying is lowering the victim's self-esteem and causing harm. The most extreme consequence is for a victim to commit suicide. Even when the bullying ends, the effects can last for years; according to, adults who were bullied in youth are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts.

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