One out of three students reported being bullied in U.S. schools last year, according to a report released Monday.
Nonprofit organization YouthTruth conducted a survey of over 160,000 secondary students across 27 states and found at least a third of respondents were bullied during the past year, USA Today reported.
The organization noted that bullying was a growing problem at schools, however, students often failed to report it for fear of becoming a target or apprehension of coming forward.
As a result, bullying may often go undetected within school halls, which is why YouthTruth decided to go directly to the students in its survey.
The organization found that nearly 40 percent of middle-schoolers experienced bullying, in comparison to the 27 percent of high-schoolers, with the majority of students citing verbal harassment as the most common form of bullying, USA Today noted.
Appearance, sexual orientation and race were predominant reasons for bullying, the report added.
Compounding the issue is that witnessing violence in school can be as mentally damaging as being directly bullied.
This was established in a report published last week, which suggested teens witnessing forms of school violence were at risk of developing later academic and psycho-social impairment.
According to the study, both bystanders and victims of bullying had a higher link to minor violence as well as increases in drug use, social anxiety, depressive symptoms and decreases in school engagement.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, self-harm, and even death.
YouthTruth executive director Jen Wilka said the survey's findings could ignite conversations and support efforts to decrease bullying for all students.
"Building equitable schools means that all students feel welcome and supported," Wilka said, according to USA Today.
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