Bullying persists in local schools

More than 40% of students in 10 Marathon County high schools say harassment and bullying is a problem and 30% report being bullied while on school property.

The numbers, released this month, are among dozens of revelations in the Wisconsin Online Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a national effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. About 2,000 local students age 13 and older completed the survey in 2015, the first time the tool has been used in Marathon County.

The YRBS provides insight into young people’s attitudes about alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, personal health and other topics. Bullying is earmarked as an issue that warrants local attention because the number of students reporting it as a problem is significantly higher than state and national levels.

Nationally, less than 20% of students reported being bullied on school property. That number compares to 22.7% in Wisconsin and 30.4% in Marathon county.

There is some good news: 73% of local students have at least one teacher or other adult in school they would turn to if they have a problem.