A new study commissioned by CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" found that the stereotype of the schoolyard bully preying on the weak doesn't reflect reality in schools.
Instead, the research shows that many students are involved in "social combat" -- a constant verbal, physical and cyber fight to the top of the school social hierarchy.
"Kids are caught up in patterns of cruelty and aggression that have to do with jockeying for status," explains Robert Faris, a sociologist who "Anderson Cooper 360°" partnered with for the pilot study. "It's really not the kids that are psychologically troubled who are on the margins or the fringes of the school's social life. It's the kids right in the middle, at the heart of things ... often, typically highly, well-liked popular kids who are engaging in these behaviors."