What the data says

In America’s schools, the lives of millions of students are negatively affected by a lack of kindness. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Education, here is what we know about what’s happening inside and outside of the classroom:

  • Bullying and harassment continue to undermine the positive impact of school.
    • 25% of middle school students are bullied in school each year
    • 31% of 6th-graders are bullied
    • Bullying is most likely to occur in classrooms, hallways, and the cafeteria
    • 64% of students who are bullied do not report it
  • An alarming number of middle school students are disengaged from school.
    • 2 million, or 13%, of middle school students a year are chronically absent, missing at least 18 days of school a year
  • Cyberbullying is an increasingly serious problem.
    • 24% of middle school students are cyberbullied, with 45% of it happening at school
  • Suicide by children ages 10-14 doubled between 2007 and 2014.
    • In 2014, 425 young people lost their lives to suicide

Recent Findings

Teaching, fostering, and celebrating kindness in schools improves students’ sense of well-being, and success in school and life.

“Kindness is an important human strength that influences subjective well-being… We suggest that kindness can cause happiness… Happy people scored higher on their motivation to perform, and their recognition and enactment of kind behaviors.” (Otake, Shimai, et al, 2006)

“Students who performed kind acts experienced significantly bigger increases in peer acceptance, [which] is related to a variety of important academic and social outcomes, including reduced likelihood of being bullied.” (Layous , Nelson, Oberle, et al, 2012)

“Students learn best when they are in environments in which they feel safe, supported, challenged, and accepted… [They] are more likely to engage in the curriculum, achieve academically, and develop positive relationships; students are less likely to exhibit problem behaviors; and teacher turnover is lower and teacher satisfaction is higher.” (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2016)

“SEL (social-emotional learning) programs yielded significant positive effects on… students’ behavioral adjustment in the form of increased prosocial behaviors and reduced conduct and internalizing problems, and improved academic performance on achievement tests and grades.” (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, et al, 2011)