A University of Illinois study shows elementary students and teachers don’t often agree on who is a bully and whether bullying is happening.
The study involved 700 students and 38 teachers at five elementary schools in the Midwest. Participants were asked to identify bully-victim pairs in their classrooms according to gender combinations (boy-boy, boy-girl, girl-girl and girl-boy).
“On average, students and teachers agreed on only 8 percent of the bully-victim pairs, although in one classroom student-teacher agreement rose to 39 percent,” said an online post about the study.
When the bully and victim were the same gender, teachers and students agreed most about whether bullying occurred. They agreed least in situations involving girls who bullied boys.
“Students reported greater numbers of bully-victim pairs than did teachers,” the study report said, “perhaps because much of the harassment occurs out of teachers’ sight.”