White House conference tackles bullying

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention Thursday.

“If there is one goal of this conference, it is to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up,” Obama said in a speech at the conference.

The conference, put on in coordination with the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, includes discussions about the effects of bullying on young people, preventing bullying and harassment in schools and the community, and cyberbullying.

President Obama and the first lady met with students and parents from the Conference on Bullying Prevention in the Oval Office on Thursday, prior to delivering remarks in the East Room.

At midday, there will be a Facebook video chat about internet safety.

The Department of Education hosted the first-ever National Bullying Summit in August 2010, and a websit, StopBullying.gov has been created.

In the administration’s 2012 fiscal budget, Obama has designated $132 million to combat violence and the bullying of children, providing grants to state and local governments under the Education department’s “Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students” program.

Anti-bullying legislation, called the Safe Schools Improvement Act, was introduced this week by Democratic Sen. Bob Casey from Pennsylvania and Republican Sen. Mark Kirk from Illinois.

The bipartisan legislation would require schools and districts receiving designated federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment. The act would ensure that schools and districts implement effective prevention programs, and would require states to report data on bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.

Full Article



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