New Rankings Put Texas at the Top of the Bullying List

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelAugust 22, 2016 10:58 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Most Texas public school students head back to class this week, and that means it’s time to throw on that fresh back-to-school outfit, break out the backpack, and meet your new teachers. But the start of the school year also means kids could be dealing with bullies.

The finance site WalletHub wanted to see where bullying was at its worst in the U.S. Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub, says Texas is at the top of the rankings

“We wanted to measure the prevalence and the prevention of bullying in 45 states plus D.C. due to data limitations, so out of all of those states, Texas ranked 6th,” she says. “And this is one study where number one has the biggest bullying problem – 46th would be the least, so Texas definitely has a big bullying problem.” 

Gonzales says they took the number of on-campus physical altercations into consideration. 

“We looked at a few categories here, one was just bullying prevalence, and Texas had a really large number,” she says. “When we looked at the number of high schoolers that engaged in physical fights on school property last year at just under 10 percent, most states were looking at single digits closer to maybe 3 to 5 percent, so Texas had double those numbers.” 

One measurement where Texas was the absolute worst: the bullying environment and its impact. 

“So one of those numbers was the percentage of high schoolers that did not go to school because they felt unsafe at around 8 percent of all high schoolers doing that,” Gonzales says. “Also a large percent of high schoolers attempted suicide at 10 percent.”

WalletHub found that the cost of truancy associated with bullying totaled $21 million in Texas last year. Only California public schools lost more money for the same reason.

Texas athletes had a huge impact on the U.S. medal haul at the 2016 Olympics with a claim to some 41 total. Gold medal gymnast and Spring native Simone Biles embodied that – she was the American flag bearer during the closing ceremonies in Rio on Sunday.

All in all, if Texas was its own country, it would have ranked eighth in the final medal count. Take that, Canada.

We knew it was expensive, but it’s possible that McKinney ISD’s new high school stadium is now the priciest in the country. McKinney chief financial officer Jason Bird broke the news to school board members last week.

“Now the original estimate that was provided during the bond election process for this facility was $62.8 million,” he said. “The final price which includes a guaranteed maximum price plus the other owner associated cost is $69.9 (million).”

The Dallas Morning News reports that one reason for the higher price is that concrete is getting costlier. But despite the building blitz, school officials decided to move ahead with the project. It’s slated to be ready next fall.