White House anti-bullying summit: You're invited

The Obama administration will host an anti-bullying White House summit today, including a live chat on Facebook.

Mary Knox Merrill / The Christian Science Monitor / File
This April 2010 file photo shows handmade bracelets worn by members of the Long family, spelling the name of Tyler Long, the eldest son who committed suicide in October 2009 at age 17 after being bullied by students at Murray County High School in Chatsworth, GA. The White House will host an anti-bullying summit Thursday morning.

The Obama administration continues its push against bullying with a White House summit today.

“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.”

Opening remarks by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama can be seen livestreamed at at 10:30 this morning.

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. 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.

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