In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, teachers reported an increase in bullying and name-calling in classrooms across the country.
Using data from a school climate survey involving over 150,000 students across Virginia, Francis Huang of the University of Missouri and Dewey Cornell of the University of Virginia compared responses from 2015 and 2017.
The researchers found increased reports of bullying in the 2017 responses in areas where Donald Trump won more votes over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
In the areas where voters favored Trump, middle school children reported bullying rates 18% higher than in areas where Clinton had been favored.
Those same students were found to be 9% more likely to report teasing or name-calling based on ethnicity or race.
Looking back at the 2015 responses, before the presidential election, the data reportedly showed “no meaningful difference.”
A psychology professor at the University of Florida, Dorothy Espelage, whose work focuses on school safety and bullying in middle and high schools, wasn’t surprised by the study’s findings.
"Anybody that's in the schools is picking up on this," Espelage told NPR. "You don't have to be a psychologist or a sociologist to understand that if these conversations are happening on the TV and at the dinner table that these kids will take this perspective and they're going to play out in the schools."
Last September, non-profit group Youth Truth released a report that showed 33% of students say they had been bullied in the past year. That represented an increase from two years earlier when only one in four students reported being bullied.
That survey included over 160,000 students across 27 states.