Yesterday’s White House conference on bullying had a single goal – to “dispel the myth that bullying is part of a normal rite of passage” – President Obama said, reports Youth Today. “No family should have to go through what these families had to go through,” the president said, singling out several families in the room whose children recently committed suicide after being targeted by bullies. One speaker, University of Connecticut education professor George Sugai, said there must be school-wide measures in order to reduce bullying. Success in minimizing bullying at the individual level is linked to “the larger school climate,” Sugai said his research has shown.
Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett touted the increasing role the federal government is playing, mentioning two letters the Department of Education sent to schools urging them to strictly enforce anti-bullying measures; a new technical assistance center on bullying prevention run by the Education Department; and the launch of a new website, Stopbullying.gov. Sen. Al Franken (D-Mn.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Co.) introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would require that schools not discriminate against students based on sexual orientation or identity, and risk losing federal funds if such discrimination is found to exist on school grounds.