Cynthia Leonor Garza
Students, parents, bullying experts and educators—including AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFT Vice President Mary J. Armstrong—participated in today’s conference with President Obama and the first lady.
WASHINGTON—Schools should be places where students feel safe and can thrive without the fear of taunts or humiliation. It is time to stop excusing bullying as “kids will be kids.” The AFT is grateful that President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are making bullying a high-profile issue and emphasizing that everyone must share in the responsibility to stop it.
As part of the AFT’s effort to combat bullying, we created blue wristbands and posters featuring our new campaign slogan, “See a Bully – Stop a Bully,” which we will be distributing widely in schools across the country. When students see their teachers or anyone wearing the blue wristband, it will serve as a signal to students that they are not alone, that school is a safe haven, and that they can turn to and depend on their educators to deal with bullying or harassment.
Next week, as the White House announced today, the AFT will officially launch our new national “See a Bully, Stop a Bully: Make a Difference” campaign at the Celebration of Teaching and Learning conference in New York. It’s a multifaceted campaign aimed at raising awareness and providing resources and training to educators, students, parents and others.
The AFT will also be bolstering the educator training we have provided for years to combat bullying in our schools, and we will be working with others to ensure that schools are safe environments for students and staff. We have established an online collection of resources, downloadable materials and links to partner organizations on the AFT website, and will host a series of webinar trainings and regional conferences on bullying in the upcoming months.
Bullying has become a constant reality for our children in this age of the Internet. We must do all we can to work together as parents, school officials, school staff, community leaders, nonprofit and private groups, and especially other students, to make it clear that we will not tolerate bullying and will do everything we can to prevent it.