"Our analysis shows students feel safer in ethnically diverse classrooms and schools," said Jaana Juvonen, UCLA professor of psychology, chair of developmental psychology and lead author of the study. She and her colleagues studied classrooms with lower and higher diversity among African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Caucasians. The researchers classified classrooms as diverse when multiple ethnic groups were represented in relatively similar proportions. The findings of the study held even when classroom differences in academic performance were taken into account.
The researchers were able to examine the effects of diversity on African American and Latino students - the two ethnic groups that were represented across all the classrooms in this sample of public middle school youth in the Los Angels area. Co-author Adrienne Nishina, assistant professor of human development at UC Davis, said she expects that students from other ethnic backgrounds would experience similar benefits from ethnically diverse schools.
Graham and colleagues are in the sixth year of their long-term school bullying study of more than 1,900 sixth graders, and their teachers, in eleven Los Angeles-area public middle schools with predominantly minority and low-income students. The new research is part of this long-term project. Students filled out written surveys about their perceptions of bullying and school safety.
In earlier research in the school bullying project, Juvonen and Nishina reported that school bullying is pervasive, that middle school students who are bullied in school are likely to feel depressed and lonely, that harassment at school interferes with the ability to learn, that bullies are often popular and do not suffer from low self-esteem, that bullying occurs in one form or another across ethnic groups and income brackets, that the most common types of harassment were name calling and physical aggression such as kicking and shoving, and that schools can take effective actions to reduce bullying.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of California - Los Angeles