School teasing and bullying after the presidential election


In response to media reports of increased teasing and bullying in schools following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, we investigated its prevalence with a Virginia school climate survey completed by approximately 155,000 7th and 8th grade students in 2013, 2015, and 2017. Survey results were mapped onto presidential election results for each school division’s locality. In localities favoring the Republican candidate, there were higher adjusted rates of students reporting: (1) they had experienced some form of bullying in the past year (18% higher) and (2) “Students in this school are teased or put down because of their race or ethnicity” (9% higher). For these two outcomes, there were no meaningful differences prior to the election. These results provide modest support for educator concerns about increased teasing and bullying since the 2016 presidential election in some schools and warrant further investigation.

Educational Researcher, 48(2). doi: 10.3102/0013189X18820291
  • After 6 days of its release, the article was the third most read article in Educational Researcher (out of 707).
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Based on our MU communications department:

  • As of 2019.01.15, more than 219 stories in national and international outlets have written about our study (and growing)
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