Minnesota: Weak on Bullying

Map: Bullying incidents in schools across the state

Bully Legend

Click on a district for details on that district.

By Bill Wareham
May 16, 2011

The Minnesota Department of Education collects data on bullying as part of a student survey it asks districts to conduct every three years. District participation is voluntary, and since it varies from survey to survey it can be an unreliable measure of trends.

MPR News compiled data from the April 2010 survey to determine how many students reported being bullied at least once a week. We mapped victimization rates for 6th, 9th and 12th graders in each district that conducted the survey.

Some trends we noted:

  • Reports of victimization drop significantly from elementary to high school. Statewide, 17.7 percent of 6th graders reported being victims once a week or more in 2010. The rate dropped to 11.3 percent for 9th graders and 7.4 percent for 12th graders.
  • Highest rates for victimization occurred outside the Twin Cities metro area.
  • We did not find a strong correlation between rates of victimization and whether district policies conformed to recommendations by bullying experts.

The department also continually collects data on all incidents that result in a suspension or expulsion, including bullying. We've mapped bullying discipline results for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years.

Because most bullying discipline doesn't rise to suspension or expulsion, the data doesn't provide a clear picture of how many incidents occurred or how districts dealt with those incidents. Still, you can see on the maps that a few districts handed out suspensions and expulsions for bullying at significantly higher rates than most.

Data from Minnesota Department of Education