According to statistics compiled as part of a government awareness campaign, middle school is the place where most students experience bullying. In high school, bullying seems to trail off somewhat; of course, by that time, it may be too late for a victim of bullying to make a full recovery.

There were some other interesting statistics that shed some light on the status of bullying in schools, both here in Alabama and throughout the country. For one, bullying happens all too frequently. According to one study, 28 percent of all students in middle school and high school grade levels said that they had been a victim of bullying. Moreover, about 70 percent of students said that they had witnessed bullying, an experience which can, in itself, be quite traumatic.

Based on the statistics, there are a couple of misconceptions about bullying that may have been spread via popular culture. For one, it is usually a pack of students who, collectively, take turns bullying other students. The lone schoolyard bully, sometimes with a couple of henchmen, is not a completely accurate picture.

Moreover, the most prevalent type of bullying usually involves verbal or emotional abuse, as opposed to a physical assault. The most common type of bullying involved teasing, gossip and slander and calling names.

Perhaps the one conception that has a ring of truth to it is that victims of bullying rarely report the problem to a responsible adult. This happens only 20 to 30 percent of the time. Victims of bullying, and their parents, should remember that legal options may be available, and they should not be afraid to speak up.