The U.S. Department of Education held its third annual Bullying Prevention Summit Monday and Tuesday in Washington. The summit focused on coordinating anti-bullying efforts with the best available research.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave a closing keynote address on Tuesday afternoon.
Also on Tuesday, Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West highlighted some of the Dept. of Justice initiatives to prevent bullying in schools, as well as strategies for bullying prevention at school, home and online, in his opening keynote address.
A panel on understanding and supporting children who bully discussed the social drivers linked to increased aggression and bullying in youth. Additional panel discussions focused on suicide prevention strategies and federal resources for building skills in bullying prevention.
Musician Lady Gaga’s mother Cynthia Germanotta, co-founder of the Born This Way Foundation, described the bullying her daughters experienced growing up, and how it led to the creation of their foundation. She was joined by President Obama’s adviser Valerie Jarrett, who described the work being done on the federal level to end bullying.
On Monday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted that more studies need to be done to better understand bullying in her closing keynote address. She also spoke about HHS anti-bullying initiatives.
Earlier on Monday, First Lady of Maryland Katie O’Malley spoke about some of Maryland's initiatives to stop bullying in the luncheon keynote address. Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), who helped to form “The Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus” (CABC) earlier this year, also addressed the summit. The CABC is a bipartisan caucus committed to the urgent need of solutions that stop bullying.
Panels discussed youth leadership, how to address the needs of a diverse population, and the successes and challenges of anti-bullying initiatives over the past year. Representatives from the Ad Council and the Free to Be Foundation discussed a new PSA campaign help to parents talk to their kids about bullying, being aired on the Cartoon Network. Actress and activist Marlo Thomas of the Free to Be Foundation said schools should enact a “zero tolerance policy” where students who bully others would be expelled.