The negative effects of bullying may impact more than just the individual being bullied, as one study finds that schools with high bullying climates reported lower test scores than other schools.

The research, which is part of the Virginia High School Safety Study, found schools that noted a “more severe bullying climate” had standardized test score passing rates in Algebra I, Earth Science and World History that were 3 to 6 percent lower than those of other schools. Researchers surveyed 7,300 ninth-grade students and almost 3,000 teachers from 284 schools across the state about bullying for the study.

In presenting at the at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association last week, the researchers said their findings concluded that more school-wide bullying prevention programs need to be initiated as a step to a positive school climate, which could then help yield better academic test scores in these schools.

The researchers couldn’t offer explanations as to the bullying climates or the causes of the low tests scores at these schools, but according to an APA press release about the research, they offered several theories:

“The academic performance of students in schools with pervasive bullying may suffer because students are less engaged in learning due to fears about bullying or due to a greater level of school disorder associated with bullying, they said. Teachers also may be less effective because they spend more time focused on discipline, they added.”