The White House hosted the first ever presidential conference on Bullying Prevention with both President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama addressing the day long summit. Numerous national leaders on bullying prevention were in attendance including Seattle’s own Dan Savage representing the “It Gets Better Project”. The White House also announced the formation of a new website to combat bullying, StopBullying.gov with useful tips for victims, parents, schools and communities to combat the problem. From the President’s speech:
As adults, we all remember what it was like to see kids picked on in the hallways or in the schoolyard. And I have to say, with big ears and the name that I have, I wasn’t immune. (Laughter.) I didn’t emerge unscathed. But because it’s something that happens a lot, and it’s something that’s always been around, sometimes we’ve turned a blind eye to the problem. We’ve said, “Kids will be kids.” And so sometimes we overlook the real damage that bullying can do, especially when young people face harassment day after day, week after week.
So consider these statistics. A third of middle school and high school students have reported being bullied during the school year. Almost 3 million students have said they were pushed, shoved, tripped, even spit on. It’s also more likely to affect kids that are seen as different, whether it’s because of the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, the disability they may have, or sexual orientation.
And bullying has been shown to lead to absences and poor performance in the classroom. And that alone should give us pause, since no child should be afraid to go to school in this country.
You can check out a video of the President and First Lady’s remarks and read the transcript of both speeches at www.WhiteHouse.gov