UVA study finds increase in middle school bullying in parts of Virginia that voted for Trump

Researchers at UVA found an 18 percent increase in reports of bullying in Virginia middle schools last year in localities where Trump won.

A survey before the 2016 election found no difference in bullying rates between the localities.

The results, based on a semi-annual survey of 150,000 state middle school students, were published last week in the peer reviewed journal Educational Researcher.

According to the abstract: In localities favoring the Republican candidate, there were higher adjusted rates of students reporting that (a) they had experienced some form of bullying in the past year (18 percent higher) and (b) “students in this school are teased or put down because of their race or ethnicity” (nine percent higher). For these two outcomes, there were no meaningful differences prior to the election. These results provide modest support for educator concerns about increased teasing and bullying since the 2016 presidential election in some schools and warrant further investigation.

“Parents should be mindful of how their reactions to the presidential election, or the reactions of others, could influence their children,” Cornell, a psychologist and professor of education at UVA, who conducted the study with Francis Huang at the University of Missouri, said in a statement. “And politicians should be mindful of the potential impact of their campaign rhetoric and behavior on their supporters and indirectly on youth.”