Nationwide effort to stop bullying in schools beginning to pay off, study shows

Drop in bullying

There's been a nationwide effort recently to stop bullying in schools, and a new study shows it's beginning to pay off.

The morning announcements at Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, start with a heavy dose of pride.

"Good morning staff and students ... and as always, I hope the Lions are ready to roar," the school principal is heard saying in a video. "At Howard High School, where we are filling our days with PRIDE, that's punctuality ..."

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Principal Nick Novak CBS News

Principal Nick Novak continued explaining the acronym in an interview: "... respect, integrity, determination and excellence, and these are characteristics and traits that we feel like every student should be embracing and modeling in their daily lives."

Novak says these virtues help students battle bullying. Strategies can be as simple as encouraging kids to say hello to each other.

Sophomore Emma Griffith said, "People in Howard are more likely to be inclusive and to be able to talk to people and respect people in everybody in their class, not just who's their friends."

Monday's study is based on following 246,306 Maryland children -- grades 4 through 12 -- for 10 years.

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Study that spanned 10 years was released by the American Academy of Pediatrics. CBS News

Researchers found:

  • Those who reported being victims decreased from 29 percent to 13 percent
  • In 2005, 22 percent of kids being bullied were physically hit and 6 percent were being cyberbullied
  • By 2014, those numbers dropped to 5 percent and 4 percent respectively
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Professor Catherine Bradshaw at the University of Virginia coauthored the report.

"We have a lot of work left to do; we don't want to take our foot off the gas as it relates to focus on school climate and prevention and using evidence-based practices," Bradshaw said. "So by no means is bullying checked off the list."

Kids are encouraged to do something when they see it. That could be talking to an adult, comforting the victim or making sure they don't encourage the bully.

  • Jonathan LaPook

    Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the chief medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook