Bullied high-school students are bringing hundreds of thousands of clubs, knives, and guns onto school grounds—at a time when student-on-student violence has stunned and baffled the nation, NBC News reports. According to data extrapolated from a CDC survey, bullying victims who are injured or threatened by a weapon at school are 800% more likely to pack a weapon, and the effects are cumulative, so chronic-bullying victims are far more likely to carry a weapon. The result: More than 200,000 students are bringing weapons into high schools, Discovery reports. "When you combine" the various "risk factors, you see scary figures," says lead author Andrew Adesman.
Researchers looked at the 20% of US high school students who report having been bullied, most of whom are white, female, and in lower grades, Medical Daily reports. The numbers show that four categories of bullying victims—those who have cut school over safety concerns, had personal property stolen or damaged, suffered physical assault, and endured verbal torment—are almost 49 times more likely to have a weapon, and 34 times more likely to have a gun. But linking the data to school assaults isn't easy, NBC News notes, because some attackers are bullies (the Columbine shooters) while others are bullying victims (like, apparently, Alex Hribal). One anti-bullying advocate says the solution is to break the "code of silence" among many students: "We have to give our kids permission and support to report what they hear when a peer is in trouble," she says. (Read more bullying stories.)