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The sort-of-popular kids are the biggest bullies, plus more in this week’s news

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3:45pm, February 14, 2011

Popular tormentors
Moderately popular teens, not social outcasts or the most popular kids, frequently harass their peers physically, verbally and by spreading gossip, say University of California, Davis, sociologists Robert Faris and Diane Felmlee. Kids at the very top of the social totem pole at middle schools and high schools in North Carolina rarely picked on other students over a three-year span, the researchers report in the February American Sociological Review. But teens in the middle of the popularity pack regularly used harassment to maintain and advance their social standing. Bullying prevention programs should address the types of harassment practiced by moderately popular kids, in their view. —Bruce Bower

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