“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,” President Obama said in a press statement. “Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people. And it’s not something we have to accept. As parents and students, teachers and communities, we can take steps that will help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe.”
At 12:30, another livestreamed event at the same site will feature questions via the White House Facebook account, addressed by administration officials and Facebook’s chief security officer Joe Sullivan.
In the coming weeks, Facebook plans to unveil a new social reporting system so that content violating Facebook policies can be removed and parents or teachers can be informed, according to the White House press release.
Conference sessions at Thursday's summit will address everything from school-based prevention and enforcement efforts to cyberbullying.
Momentum has been growing to curb bullying since a spate of high-profile youth suicides in recent years. Prevention campaigns are underway by such groups as the National Association of Student Councils; the two major teachers’ unions – the NEA and AFT; MTV Networks; and GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
StopBullying.gov http://www.stopbullying.gov/ is a new website that provides information from various government agencies on how children, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent bullying. It will also show how to get help for bullies’ targets.