RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Across Virginia public schools, a statewide survey reveals - bullying - is now the top safety concern among students.
While it's common for elementary and middle school teachers to say that, UVA professor Dewey Cornell says it's surprising for high school students to recognize it as a top concern.
The state mandates this survey every year. This time around, 100% of Virginia public school principals and district superintendents participated.
"Each report contains hundreds of questions with various sub questions depending on the level of the school and the kind of security measures," said Cornell.
Results show, 62% of Virginia's public high schools now have programs to help prevent bullying.
"To see this many high schools trying to implement programs at high school level is really surprising but also is a very positive sign showing how seriously they're taking this problem," said Cornell.
You may have heard of anti bully week, no name calling week, bullying awareness week, or even national bully week. For many schools, the fight against bullying is a year round effort.
"When we look at the rates of bullying at the high school level, number one is verbal bullying, 2 social bullying just spreading rumors about people and having people excluded from groups, 3 is physical bullying and cyber bullying is actually number four," said Cornell.
High school bound Tiara Edwards tells her mom she sees kids being bullied too often at school.
"It's the name calling, pushing people downstairs into walls, it's a lot of other things, physically bullying verbal bullying, internet bullying, now a lot of different things," said Edwards.
Edwards, an 8th grader at Robious Middle School in Chesterfield County says, she herself hasn't experienced bullying but agrees, it's a big concern.
"The school principal is very instrumental in sending out emails to parents, keeping us involved with what's going on," Edwards mom, Whitney Williams-Edwards.
Chesterfield County schools say they are proof that preventative programs do work, bullying is at a decline for them.
Richmond and Henrico schools also say they have programs in place year round and are trying to work on getting more funding for it in the future.
This new data could help schools get money for programs.