The Summit is hosted by the Department of Education and will bring these groups and individuals together to discuss the successes and challenges of addressing bullying, and what needs to be done in the year to come. We’ve come a long way in the past year, but there is much to learn from the people who address bullying in the work they do day to day. It’s important for us to hear the voices of those impacted by bullying from around the country and to share the knowledge we’ve gained to stop bullying. So for the first time this year, we will be livestreaming the entire Summit and engaging the at-home audience through Twitter and Facebook.
Since we hosted the first Summit in August, 2010, attention and efforts around bullying have taken on new importance and urgency. We are starting to turn a corner from thinking of bullying as “kids being kids,” to understanding the real and serious consequences bullying may have. Although there have been many advances over the past three years, there is still much to be done. We must come together to make sure our efforts are informed by the best available research and work to protect all youth. This year, the summit will focus on three important issues:
- Supporting all students involved in bullying, including those who bully;
- Understanding the connection between bullying and suicide; and
- Encouraging youth to be more than a bystander in bullying situations.
Keynote speeches by the White House’s Roberto Rodriguez, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West will highlight and reinforce the Administration’s commitment to bullying. Remarks by Maryland’s First Lady Katie O’Malley and U.S. Congressman Mike Honda (D, CA-15) as well as a special conversation between Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and Cynthia Germonotta, President of the Born this Way Foundation will highlight some of the key activities being taken in the Congressional, State, and Foundation arenas.
It is up to all of us, whatever role we play in kids’ lives, to take action against bullying. As we begin the important discussions for this year’s Summit, I hope you will join us in taking a stand against bullying.