White House Sets Anti-Bullying Conference for March 10

Posted by Chris Geidner
March 1, 2011 3:25 PM |

In a conference call with reporters today, White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki said that next Thursday, Mar. 10, the White House will hold a conference on bullying.

White House Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes said that the conference is an event that would include President Obama and the Education and Health and Human Services departments.

Calling it an issue "very near and dear to the president and first lady's heart," Barnes noted that the president had recorded an "It Gets Better" video and said that the conference would include "students and parents and teachers and others impacted by bullying" and address, among other topics, "ways to take action to address [bullying] in their communities."

Metro Weekly reported on Feb. 17 that, in a meeting Obama held with senators to discuss the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, there was no discussion of either of the bills introduced in the 111th Congress that were aimed at reducing anti-LGBT bullying.

The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) and Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) never received the specific endorsement of the administration in the 111th Congress, although White House and Education Department officials repeatedly expressed support for the aims of the bills.

Neither Barnes nor Psaki referenced federal legislative efforts as a topic of discussion at the conference.

More details about the Mar. 10 conference are expected to be available soon, according to a White House spokesperson.

[UPDATE @ 5:15 PM: From the White House:

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, March 10, President Obama, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services will welcome students, parents, teachers and others to The White House for a Conference on Bullying Prevention. The conference will bring together communities from across the nation who have been affected by bullying as well as those who are taking action to address it. Participants will have the opportunity to talk with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration about how all communities can work together to prevent bullying.

More details to come ...]

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