Study: Virginia Sees Increased School Bullying in Pro-Trump Areas

Researchers looked at areas in Virginia that predominately voted for President Trump and found there were higher rates of bullying in their schools.

Study: Virginia Sees Increased School Bullying in Pro-Trump Areas


New research conducted through student surveys has found that bullying in Virginia schools increased in the areas that mainly supported President Trump.

Researchers Francis Huang of the University of Missouri and Dewey Cornell of the University of Virginia used data from surveys taken by over 150,000 students across the state’s 132 school districts, reports NPR.

Students answered questions about bullying and teasing in 2013, 2015 and 2017. Seventh and eighth graders from areas that favored Trump reported bullying rates in spring 2017 were 18 percent higher than areas that voted for Hilary Clinton. Students living in pro-Trump areas were also nine percent more likely to be teased for their race or ethnicity.

This is a significant change from 2015 when, according to the researchers, there were “no meaningful differences” in those findings across communities.

Following the 2016 presidential election, a series of racially-motivated incidents were reported at schools across the country.

According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, 25 percent of African-American students reported being bullied at school, compared to 22 percent of Caucasian students, 17 percent Hispanics and nine percent of Asian students.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) coined the phrase “Trump Effect” to describe the president’s impact on the spike, reports News One.

Huang, an associate professor of education, says that while bullying rates in areas of Virginia that voted Republican went up in 2017, rates went down in places that favored Clinton.

“If, in one area, bullying rates go up, and, in another area, your bullying rates go down, what do you get?” he asks. “You get an average of no change.”

The researchers noted that their findings do not conclude that the election caused an increase in bullying but found a correlation between voter preference and bullying.

Dorothy Espelage, a psychology professor who researches bullying and school safety, believes kids are picking up on what is around them, like the news or dinner conversations, and then acting out that behavior at school.

“Parents should be mindful of how their reactions to the presidential election, or the reactions of others, could influence their children,” Cornell said. “And politicians should be mindful of the potential impact of their campaign rhetoric and behavior on their supporters and indirectly on youth.”

The researchers believe further research could determine if Trump’s behavior and student aggression against peers is linked.

“It may be that presidential behavior has indirect effects on the social environment experienced by students, but we won’t know until more studies are conducted,” Huang said.

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About the Author


Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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9 responses to “Study: Virginia Sees Increased School Bullying in Pro-Trump Areas”

  1. Hans says:

    Everyone of these schools is left leaning school. All the students there are fed bias news on a regular basis. Don’t mix how the community voted versus the student in the school. I bet if polled those student voted for another candidate besides POTUS or they did not vote at all. That information I would like to see in these types of articles. Be an investigator. look at why rather than pushing blame to drive a bias agenda.

  2. Jon says:

    I find it interesting that they have linked this data to Trump and his supporters when a huge percentage of news reports during the same time depicted “Clinton supporters” actually committing most of the violence and aggression. That violence and aggression was towards “Trump supporters”. It stands to reason that an area with more Trump supporters would have an increase in bullying. I don’t know of a single case covered by the media that showed a Trump supporter committing violence against a Clinton supporter, unprovoked. Interesting how data can be manipulated based on perceptions. My own children were ostracized by friends who’s parents supported Clinton. Even teachers made comments in school about it. The tweet you posted says it all. Trump wants people to follow the law, which promotes peace. I’m not sure how that can be misconstrued. Free speech and no violence.

  3. James E Layne says:

    So now we are siting left leaning, hypocritical “researchers” in an attempt to once again blame President Trump for 7th graders acting like 7th graders. Do you really think that 7th graders care about politics. I am sure they don’t have the Fox News or CNN app on their phones. 7th and 8th grades are the most drama infused times of a teenagers life. Next time think about an article and where it is coming from and who the researchers are before put it on your website. This is totally biased reporting. Stay away from that if you want to be creditable!

  4. Thomas Davis says:

    Irresponsible reporting. You can’t put out something like this without evidence of where and who and what kind of incidents you are talking about. This smacks of politics.

  5. I have been reading and referring your magazine to many of my security clients but after your left-wing political comment blaming Trump supporters for School Bullying, it has caused me to rethink my subscription and referring your magazine.
    I will be canceling my subscription and letting all of my 3400 connections via LinkedIn about your ridiculous statement. Very Disappointed.

  6. George Hunter says:

    More politically-motivated “yellow journalism.”

  7. Mike says:

    I wonder who paid for another seemingly worthless research study?

  8. Shay says:

    Right there with you.

  9. jade coldren says:

    Just because the study shows that “areas” support one candidate or another has nothing to do with anything. Who is doing the bullying and who is being bullied should be the study. The problem with that type of study is that you may not be able to blame Trump. Also when you show a “race” of reporting being bullied you also need to show the race that is doing the bulling. Just because one race is being bullied doesn’t mean that is coming from another race like you make it read. I would like to complement on you trying to spin this BS. Bullying is a problem focus on the problem and stop trying to blame Trump for everything.

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