Obama Administration Holds Anti-Bullying Conference
March 16, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Last week, the Obama administration held a major anti-bullying conference to call attention to ways that schools and communities can combat bullying.
"If there’s one goal of this conference, it’s to dispel 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," said President Obama, in his opening speech. "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."
Prior to the conference, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent a letter to the Obama administration with recommendations for how to more effectively address the issue of bullying and cyberbullying. The recommendations include:
- Establishing a comprehensive anti-bullying policy for all schools;
- Providing training and technical support for school administrators on anti-bullying programs;
- Analyzing the impact of bullying on social and emotional health and academic achievement;
- Providing resources to educate communities on recognizing and responding to bullying/ cyber bullying;
- Working with youth orientated private corporations to promote programs and awareness of bullying and cyber bullying’
- Engaging younger generations in anti-bullying campaigns; and
- Working collaboratively with civil and rights, community based groups, and law enforcement organizations to promote public advocacy and prevention for anti-bullying and hate crime.
In his opening speech, Obama strongly endorsed the initiative of a federal anti-bullying policy and various resources to ensure effective anti-bullying and cyber bullying programs. He also proposed establishing a range of innovative resources and training initiatives, in an effort to educate all people on the significance of cyber bullying.
In a collaborative effort, government agencies recently launched a comprehensive website StopBullying.gov. The website is designed to be a tool for school administrators, parents, and students with a variety of information, such as the description of bullying, risks involved and places to receive help.
"Federal leadership on this important issue is critical to ensure that schools are safe places for all students, and that they help foster a culture in which bias and bullying are not tolerated," David Waren, director of education for ADL, said in a statement.
The civil and human rights community has long been committed to help create a safe school environment for our nation’s young people. In August 2010, a group of more than 70 civil rights organizations, including The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the ADL offered a set of recommendations for federal action to curb bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment to the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services.