The "Ethics of American Youth" study, which surveyed more than 40,000 high school students, found that half of all high school students have bullied someone in the past year, with almost as many saying they have been the victims of bullying.
The study, which was released Tuesday, also found that one-third of all high school students say that violence is a big problem at their school, and a quarter of them say they don't feel very safe there. Going to a private school reduced the figures drastically.
Ten percent of students said they'd carried a weapon to school at least once in the last year, and 16% admitted that they had been intoxicated at school. More than 50% said they had hit someone because they were upset in the last 12 months.
"The combination of bullying, a penchant toward violence when one is angry, the availability of weapons, and the possibility of intoxication at school increases significantly the likelihood of retaliatory violence," said Michael Josephson, founder and president of the non-profit Josephson Institute of Ethics.
The study was released on the same day the Obama administration issued new guidelines for educators on how to address bullying and harassment in schools. Sent to thousands of schools, colleges, universities and school districts around the country, the guidelines included examples of bullying and harassment cases that constituted violations of federal civil rights laws.
"If the saying, 'sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never harm me' was ever true, it certainly is not so today," said Josephson. "Insults, name calling, relentless teasing, and malicious gossip often inflict deep and enduring pain."