New study finds crisis among Hillsborough County’s school-aged girls

By The Numbers

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Researchers are finding a bullying crisis among Hillsborough county’s middle and high school-aged girls

In a briefing presented by the Children’s Campaign and the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center on Tuesday, researcher Vanessa Patino Lydia discussed the findings of the inaugural study.

“It was really important when we did this research to not only look at the indicators of well-being and emotional wellbeing, but to really understand the context,” Patino Lydia said.

Statewide, two out of every three girls are reporting having experienced cyber-bullying, while one in three experience physical bullying.

In Hillsborough County, 20 percent of middle and high-school aged girls self-reported not feeling safe in school. In Pinellas, the number is higher at 28 percent and in Pasco those numbers creep up to 32 percent.

Girls’ school safety

Below are the percentages of middle and high-school aged girls in the Tampa Bay area who self-reported that they do not feel safe in school. Hover over the bar to see the exact number.

Source: The Children’s Campaign

The study also found that while Hillsborough County is the third-highest county in the state for the number of removal of girls from the home for reasons such as domestic violence, abuse and parental drug use. It leads the state in total number of removals for all reasons.

Hillsborough County also leads the state in child removals without documented reason, according to the study.

To compile the data, researchers analyzed information from the U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Surveillance System, Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Florida Department of Children and Families and multiple other reports of tens of thousands of children throughout Florida.

“We need gender-specific services,” said The Children’s campaign president, Roy Miller. “I grew up in a child-serving system where everything was designed for boys and we really didn’t even think about services for girls.”

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