Anti-Bullying Conference at the White House
Posted in: Child Protection&Online Safety at 15/03/2011 00:17
In a packed East Room, the President and First Lady hosted the first-ever White House anti-bullying conference yesterday. Speaking in their duel roles as first couple and parents of two young children, they spoke to many of the issues that families across the country face as they raise their kids.
Addressing the audience of students, parents, teachers, and policy experts, the First Lady said:
As parents, this issue really hits home for us. As parents, it breaks our hearts to think that any child feels afraid every day in the classroom, or on the playground, or even online. It breaks our hearts to think about any parent losing a child to bullying, or just wondering whether their kids will be safe when they leave for school in the morning.
So as parents, we know we need to make a real effort to be engaged in our children's lives, to listen to them and be there for them when they need us. We need to get involved in their schools and in their activities so that we know what they're up to, both in and out of the classroom. And when something is wrong, we need to speak up, and we need to take action.
The President laid out his ambition to:
[D]ispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It's not. Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people. And it's not something we have to accept. As parents and students, as teachers and members of the community, we can take steps -- all of us -- to help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe; a climate in which they all can feel like they belong.
Bullying isn't a new issue. The President recognized the courage of the families of kids "brimming with promise" who ultimately took their own lives after enduring "harassment and ridicule day after day at school." Around the country, students are coming together to tackle the impact of bullying in their communities. The President told the story of Sarah, Emily and Olivia from California: