With 20% of students ages 12-18 experience bullying, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2023’s States with the Biggest Bullying Problems.

To identify the states where bullying is most pervasive, WalletHub compared 47 states and the District of Columbia across 20 key metrics, ranging from the bullying-incident rate to truancy costs for schools to the share of high school students bullied online.

Bullying Prevalence & Prevention in California (1=Biggest, 24=Avg.):

Overall rank for California: 1st

  • 3rd – % of High School Students Bullied on School Property
  • 29th – % of High School Students Bullied Online
  • 1st – % of High School Students Involved in Physical Fight at School
  • 18th – % of High School Students Who Missed School for Fear of Being Bullied
  • 1st – Cost of Truancy for Schools Due to Bullying Problems
  • 9th – State Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies
  • 2nd – State Anti-Cyberbullying Laws Requiring School Policy

Expert Commentary
What are the main factors that put a child at risk of being bullied?

“A child may be at risk of being bullied for many reasons or no reason at all. Bullying may take many forms and can range from unkind words to acts of physical violence and may take place in person or online. Whatever form bullying takes it must by definition occur on multiple occasions. A child’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, learning disability, physical disability, weight, and socioeconomic factors are among the factors that may put a child at risk of being bullied.”
— Lori Latrice Martin, Ph.D. – Associate Dean; Professor, Louisiana State University

“At-risk children for bullying tend to be children who are unique in some way. This often means that the child is a different race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation than the majority of their peers, the child is differently abled, the child has a unique family composition, or the child is experiencing poverty.”
— Rebekka Russell, MSW, LSW – Assistant Professor, Malone University

Should schools or parents face any liability when their kids bully others?

“Schools and parents need education, help, and support to address bullying and then prevent it from continuing. If their child, or a school’s student, is committing bullying acts it would be better to have clear consequences to stop the behaviors provide support and education and put anti-bullying plans into place. The question is not so much about punitive responses but about addressing the problem as it stands at the time, providing necessary discipline, counseling, or remediation including for the child being bullied and for the child doing the bullying, with ongoing follow-up to ensure that proper new policies and oversight are put into place and followed.”
— Tovah P. Klein, Ph.D. – Associate Professor; Director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development; author of the bestselling book, How Toddlers Thrive

What kinds of programs should state and local governments develop to prevent bullying?

“School systems should have programs in place that protect children from bullying by fully investigating reports by students, parents, or other concerned individuals. Teachers and other school personnel should receive research-based training on identifying bullying and developing strategies to de-escalate conflicts. There must be accountability at various levels. School administrators must be held accountable for protecting students and providing services or referrals for students as needed.”
— Lori Latrice Martin, Ph.D. – Associate Dean; Professor, Louisiana State University

“State and local governments should focus on mental health services. This is where most concerns could be addressed. In Ohio, we have the newly launched OhioRISE program. I am fortunate enough to be involved in this program, and they are doing wonderful work in addressing the mental health needs of youth. We also need movement on state and local levels to prioritize resources for identified differently-abled children. Personally, I have a child who is struggling in school because he is not able to access the special education resources that he needs. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) that creates Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) that creates 504 plans are a great start for differently abled students, but the school systems often hold too many power based on the language of those policies.”
— Rebekka Russell, MSW, LSW – Assistant Professor, Malone University

For the full report, please visit:

Image Sources

  • Bullying: Pexels