Posted on August 23, 2011

Bullying Bruises Grades for Black & Latino Achievers

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience, August 23, 2011


Students who reported being bullied in the 10th grade saw a drop in their grades in 12th grade compared with their pre-bullying 9th-grade scores, according to research presented today (Aug. 23) at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas. The drop is sharpest for high-scoring black and Latino students, said study author Lisa Williams, a graduate student at Ohio State University. That may be because these high achievers don’t fit their communities’ racial stereotypes.


The effects were starkest when looking at academically talented minority students. An African-American student with a 3.5 GPA (out of a potential 4.0) in 9th grade who was bullied lost, on average, 0.3 GPA points by 12th grade. For a white student with a 3.5 GPA, that same number was only 0.03 points, 10 times less severe.

Victimized high-achieving Latino students fared even worse, losing 0.5 GPA points on average in 12th grade as a result of bullying.

Low-achieving Latino and black students’ GPAs were not as affected by bullying, dropping less than 0.1 GPA points. Low-achieving whites were more affected than high-achievers, losing just over 0.1 points. For Asian students, being high- or low-achieving made no difference in the amount of GPA lost: Bullying in 10th grade translated to about a 0.3-point drop in GPA across the board.

{snip} According to stereotype, blacks and Latinos do worse in school, she [Williams] said, so those students might be picked on for failing to conform.