INDIANAPOLIS — Bullying is on the rise among Indiana schools according to a new report released by the Indiana Department of Education.

The IDOE report documents instances of bullying that have been reported to school corporations throughout Indiana throughout the 2022-2023 school year.

A total of 5,460 bullying incidents were reported last school year, with instances of verbal bullying being the number one category.

Below is a breakdown of the bullying categories the report focused on:

  • 2,060 verbal incidents
  • 1,656 physical incidents
  • 618 social/relational incidents
  • 597 combination incidents
  • 529 electronic/written incidents

The latest findings marked an increase in every category compared to the previous year when a total of 5,067 bullying incidents were reported.

While the report found that bullying was reduced during the pandemic-impacted school years, it acknowledged that instances of bullying have been on the rise and nearing pre-pandemic rates.

“This data shows that bullying continues to be a concern in all schools in Indiana. Information on
how to prevent, respond to, and report incidents of bullying should be reflected in training
provided to educators,” said the IDOE report.

The IDOE report also reviewed the frequency of student arrests on school property last year. A total of 1,124 student arrests were carried out on school properties, with the most common arrests being for battery and “other.” The “other” category includes public intoxication, robbery, truancy and theft, according to the IDOE report.

Bullying remains an issue that can stunt the progress of students socially and in the classroom.

A teen in Covington, Terry Badger III, took his own life in March. His family blamed bullying. Terry attended Covington Middle School.

The outpouring of emotion in response to Terry’s death led to the creation of House Bill 1483, a bill that was signed into law by Gov. Holcomb in May. The law went into effect on July 1.

It stipulates that schools must be in contact with the parents of the alleged bullying victim and perpetrator within five days of the incident being reported. The bill also rules that the victim or bully can transfer schools depending on the severity of the case.