Today, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are hosting the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention to bring together students, parents, educators, policymakers, non-profit leaders, and administration officials to address the challenges posed by bullying, to highlight successful efforts of those who are taking action, and to send the message we must all work together to make our schools and communities safe for all students.
Last fall several tragic suicides linked to bullying caught the nation’s attention and focused it on what has been a longstanding and pervasive problem in our schools. This was not “news” to us in DC: in 2009 we had convened an interagency task force on bullying, staged a national summit on the subject in August 2010 (you can watch segments on CSPAN here), and remain engaged on many fronts in efforts to reduce bullying, including launching a new web site today, stopbullying.gov. But with the President’s involvement today, we are sending the strongest message we can that all of us need to do more. (And in case you missed it, the President and First Lady released a special video message yesterday).
We need you to be a part of the dialogue, too. You can watch portions of the Conference on Bullying Prevention live right here on WhiteHouse.gov and join in several special online discussions throughout the day.
Here’s the lineup:
For too long, people have excused bullying by saying things like “What can you do, bullying has been going on forever. Kids are mean.” Or “She just made a bad joke, she didn’t mean to hurt anyone.” Or, worse yet, “Bullying is just part of growing up. It builds character.” We reject those excuses. As the President says, bullying isn’t a normal rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. We all have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our children. We can, and we will, stop bullying now.