The White House has announced that it is inviting students, parents and teachers to a conference next Thursday, March 10, on the subject of bullying prevention where President Obama and representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services will discuss what the Administration will be doing to help combat this problem and what individuals can do to fight bullying in schools.
From the White House press release:
On Thursday, March 10, President Obama, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services will welcome students, parents, teachers and others to The White House for a Conference on Bullying Prevention. The conference will bring together communities from across the nation who have been affected by bullying as well as those who are taking action to address it.
Participants will have the opportunity to talk with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration about how all communities can work together to prevent bullying.
Bullying, particularly bullying related to perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity, received renewed attention last year after a spate of high profiled teen suicides.
Melody Barnes, White House domestic policy adviser, told the Washington Blade that the issue of anti-LGBT bullying in schools, and bullying as a whole, is an issue Obama feels strongly about.
From the Washington Blade:
In a conference call Tuesday, Melody Barnes, White House domestic policy adviser, said the conference will bring together students, parents, teachers and other leaders who “have been affected by bullying, and who have taken action to prevent bullying.”
“Participants will have the opportunity to speak with the president and representatives from the highest levels of the administration about bullying as well as ways to take action to address it in their communities,” Barnes said.
Barnes noted that Obama appeared in the fall for a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign to speak out against anti-gay bullying. Barnes called the issue “very, very near to the president and the first lady’s heart.”
“The president believes we must ensure schools are safe for all kids for every single child who walks through that door, and we look forward to this conference and the opportunity to hear from individuals from diverse backgrounds about how bullying has affected their lives as well as attempts individuals and communities have taken to stop it,” Barnes said.
Barnes added more details would be made available about the conference in the future, such as the names of participants. Sources have told the Washington Blade that representatives from LGBT advocacy groups would be among the participants in the conference.
You can take action below to ask Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to make sure perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity is included in existing anti-bullying programs.
Take Action: End Anti-LGBT Bullying!
- Perez Hilton Raising Money for GLSEN and LGBT Youth
- Tennessee Bill Banning Discussion of Homosexuality in Schools Back Again
- Don’t Filter Me!: ACLU Campaigns to Get Positive LGBT Websites Unblocked in Schools