WASHINGTON (AP) – Speaking as both a parent and the president, Barack Obama told young people that they shouldn't have to accept bullying as an inevitable part of growing up.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama convened a conference on preventing bullying Thursday, seeking to shine a spotlight on an issue that affects millions of young people each year. More than 150 students, parents and educators gathered at the White House to discuss with the Obamas and administration advisers ways they can work together to make schools and communities safer for young people.
“If there's one goal, it's to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage,” Obama said.
Obama urged the parents and teachers in the conference to create a support system for their children and students.
“As adults, we can lose sight of how hard it can be sometimes to be a kid,” Obama said. “It's easy for us to forget what it's like to be teased or bullied, but it's also easy to forget the natural compassion and the sense of decency that our children display each and every day when they're given a chance.”
The White House say one-third of the nation's students, or 13 million children, have been bullied.