Education Secretary Duncan takes on bullying
Education Secretary Arne Duncan led the third annual Bullying Prevention Summit in Washington, D.C. this week.
August 8th, 2012
04:02 PM ET

Education Secretary Duncan takes on bullying

by DaShawn Fleming, CNN

(CNN) The Department of Education held its third annual federal Bullying Prevention Summit in Washington, D.C. Monday and Tuesday. The goal of the event was to spread awareness ofand brainstorm initiatives to combat bullying, an ongoing issue facing many students. Bullying can result in tragic consequences including violent attacks, depression, and even suicide. Several notables attended the summit including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Senior Adviser to President Obama Valerie Jarrett, actress Marlo Thomas and Lady Gaga’s mom, Cynthia Germanotta.

Secretary Duncan made the keynote closing remarks on Tuesday. He urged the importance of adult involvement in students’ lives, saying “I think that our kids need a lot more time with adults”, and insisting that adults work together to “support individuality and empowerment.”

In recent months, President Obama has endorsed two anti-bullying bills in Congress, the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act—both efforts to protect students and end bullying in schools. Duncansays that the president has often stated that “bullying is not a harmless right of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.”

Although children are the ones who normally face these issues, Duncan has high hopes that a partnership with the Ad Council, a non-profit that distributes public service announcements, will help teach kids to be more than just bystanders. With only one-third of all incidents being reported to adults, the partnership hopes to stress that people of all ages can be part of the solution by speaking up against bullying.

According to, bullying can occur both on and off school grounds. A member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America asked how out-of-school service providers can cooperate with schools to prevent bullying and harassment.

“I would love to see more school buildings open from 9:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night, maybe the traditional school running the school from 9:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon, then bring in the Y and the boys and girls clubs to run the school from 3:00 to 9:00 so there is absolute continuity of staff of resources,” Duncan responded.

Duncan also stressed that while data can be collected to understand the extent of the issue, parents, schools and members of the community have to build relationships with children to see results. “I think that we as adults just don't listen enough and I think so many times there are signals, children are crying out for help,” he said. states that 49 of the 50 U.S.states have anti-bullying legislation in place. But Duncan says that these laws “lack consistency and enforcement mechanisms.”  He hopes more awareness will ultimately make bullying come to an end.

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Filed under: Arne Duncan • Behavior • Bullying
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Deborah Hamui

    For a child to achieve the goal of not being a bullying target, he(she) needs to get his(her) self confidence back; change the way he(she) is perceived from vulnerable to confident; learn and use strategies when confronted; have support and useful help from his parents (caregivers); and appropriate adult intervention.

    Sleep’n Sync provides the child the tools he (she) needs from within.The program's audio is designed to help the child build their self confidence, learn alternative behaviors, and feel less vulnerable. Sleep'n Sync's Bullying programs help the child internalize a positive self concept and provide strategies to use when confronted.

    For the parents(caregivers) Sleep'n Sync's Bullying programs include a written guide with helpful insights to effectively help and support their child through the process, to get appropriate adult intervention, and to teach the child the skills needed to get a conscious understanding of such skills.

    Sleep'n Sync's programs help the child use the power of their mind to achieve their goals while they sleep. Simply choose the right program, download it and start tonight!

    The programs are available through iTunes, amazon, and
    It is revolutionary and patent pending!

    August 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  2. Upstream approach

    Playworks is a national nonprofit creating healthy school climates and preventing bullying before it starts. See

    August 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  3. Angel

    Bullying is MUCH more destructive now than when we were kids, i blame the parents and the desensitization of our children. they are exposed to so much violence, hate, etc via video games, movies, etc. again tho, you gotta rest it on the shoulder of the parents for allowing the child to view such crap. as for obese kids, you make the healthy food cheaper and the crap more expensive, i guarantee you will see weight loss. to eat healthy, all the time, is expensive. i for one pulled my kid and homeschooled because the school refused to take action about the bullying. which is sad, he was the top scholar for the school. he pulled their numbers up so high during that crap yearly testing they do in Missouri. They waste a month, coaching the kids etc to score high on that MAPS test, and the results are not even a true indication on how the school is doing.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  4. spent

    Spent 34 years teaching and good lucking in changing behavior that is instilled by parents...good luck dude.

    August 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  5. larry5

    I can't wait to see what Arne comes up with to solve this problem.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  6. jusme101


    August 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  7. Mark

    Shouldn't parents step in and work on their kids diets if they are approaching an unhealthy weight? Medical intervention? I mean it's very sad when I've seen 50+ % of likds in a class/school that don't look healthy. There are also numerous malnurished students along with every issue you could imagine. A few ugly ones too but there always will be (At Wal-Mart). Being a respectful person would solve alot of pain and hurt for others

    August 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • mominChiTOwn

      CTU and the teachers themselves have corrupted the schools

      August 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  8. Lilac0245

    Great job Arne. Let's take the focus off the CORPORATIONS that are destroying our schools with whom you appear to be complicit. Just smoke and mirrors. I have yet to see a policy come out of this department that benefits kids and not corporations. Unlike John, I hope the President will soon see the grave error he has made.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  9. JGM33528

    This is a serious problem in our schools and it wastes so much of the teachers' precious time with our children. I hold the parents of the offending bully responsible. There is a huge difference between having children and raising children. Raising children involves alot of sacrificing and alot of time, many parents today are not willing to put the effort into being a good parent. It is unfortunate that we can't count on parents' personal or social ethics regarding their childrens behavior but........hurt them where they will feel it!!! When their child is disturbing a class room or bullying another child the school should phone the parents and give them 45 minutes to remove their child from school property. When parents have to leave work and lose money they will pay attention.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Mark

      SPOT ON! Thank you. What is so hard for administrators at the local, county, state, Fed (Duncan) to understand that fair, consistent and firm consequences need to be in place PERIOD. No parental whining or not cooperating (Should then become a POLICE matter) . Kids ket coddled in the schools then as teenagers try the same things with the police that worked in school but the result is much different ( A painful/expensive crime to smark off or assault a police officer). Get'em young and they will fall in line, must have firm discipline in all schools to improve.

      August 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
      • mominChiTOwn

        Yes but the school has to enforce it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And stop ignoring the problem

        August 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  10. The Decline

    Bullying isnt the problem.....teaching children the life skills to deal with it however, is. We dont give kids the tools to grow up mentally strong. I saw many kids get bullied in school growing up...none of them killed themselves.l

    August 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Andi

      And what about the kids you didn't know who might have killed themselves?

      August 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  11. The Man In The Hat

    Shouldn't the Education Secretary be focused on EDUCATION???!!! Has he not seen or heard these kids today? Dumber than bricks.

    August 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Time-to-be-serious

      @Man on hat...

      How true. I have nails in my tool box sharper than the kids today. At any age, including college.

      Dumb is just being nice.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  12. Time-to-be-serious

    Anti Bully Campaign is a code word for Pro Gay – Trans Gender Movement.

    GLAD is in charge of the agenda.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  13. Time-to-be-serious

    When schools allow Christian students to wear crosses, write about Jesus, carry and read thier Bibles, pray in school – then come and talk to us about bullying.

    This US society today is anti Christian.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  14. Time-to-be-serious

    The idea of helping kids hurt by bully's is wonderful.

    However, the folks in charge work within the adminstration who promotes and encourages bullying. Have you not kept up with the re-election tactics by the Obsma machine? His thugs are working overtime to smear anyone who opposes this administration. Lies and inaccurate data are the norm. And excusing groups like Black Panthers, Union thugs in Wisconsin, attacks on Christian beliefs and Occupy Wall Street protestors are just some examples.

    When Washington sets the better example how to treate every body, nor matter their beliefs, then we will listen. For now, just another waste of taxpayer dollars.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Jack

      I agree, I don't like the election tactics of the Obama machine. In defense, Romney and the Republicans running for office are much worse. Romney has no use for the truth whatsoever. And Fox news is happy to go along with his lies.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
      • The Decline

        @ Jack – Im absolutely sure you've never watched Foxnews even once in your life. And, also, what lies are you referring to?

        August 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
      • Silence

        Ron Paul!

        August 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
      • Time-to-be-serious

        @Jack clueless

        Democrates = Lies and Disception

        Republican = Truth and Justice

        FOXNEWS = Fair and Balance

        MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC = see Democrates

        August 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  15. Take A Number

    Is it really more costly to install a burner, run a natural gas line from a near by gas source (pipelines are everywhere) than it is to pay the railroad for each ton shipped. I though natural gas was cleaner and less expensive than coal per BTU gained. Not sure my facts are true the test were most likely paid for by the natural gas industry. I know it scares the Government, look at the billions in lost taxes. I am sure most of our fine congressmen are rewarded for their help in squashing any bills that would harm the oil or coal industry.

    August 9, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  16. John

    Arne Duncan knows nothing about education! He is a corporate puppet. He has never been a teacher, and he hasn't even taught one day of his life. How does someone who never taught become the Secretary of Education? He played basketball, and he was Obama's buddy. How are those qualifications? Oh yes, he ran Chicago schools and made no progress. That helps too. Oh yes, he let's his billionaire and corporate friends run education policy in America. Dump Duncan! I hope Romney wins, just to see Arne Duncan go away, and I am a Democrat.

    August 9, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  17. neil

    Please help us save these jobs.
    Anything you can do is welcomed.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  18. Darliene Howell

    Not only do anti-bullying legislation "lack consistency and enforcement mechanisms," but they omit the largest segment of people being bullied on a daily basis, children with larger body weights/sizes. Stigma and discrimination of children based on their physical appearance or body size is resulting in physiological reactions to this stress. The pressure to reduce their body size in not only extremely difficult, if not impossible, it is BAD FOR THEIR HEALTH.

    As outlined in a 2007 report from Yale’s Rudd Center:
    “Research so far suggests that obesity may increase vulnerability to adverse physiological reactions to psychosocial stressors among youths. Experiences of weight stigma may specifically exacerbate negative health outcomes through heightened blood pressure, cortisol reactivity, and risk for hypertension. Given that similar findings pertaining to obesity and vulnerability to stress are emerging in both children and adults, it may be that obesity beginning in childhood heightens vulnerability to a long-term trajectory of negative physical responses to chronic psychosocial stressors. This could in turn increase various cardiovascular risk factors. These health problems often affect overweight children. Many of the negative psychosocial consequences of weight bias occur above and beyond the influence of high body weight, and this appears to be the case for negative health consequences as well (Matthews et al., 2005). Therefore, the health consequences common among obese children may partly result from the effects of discrimination.” (Puhl & Latner; Stigma, Obesity, and the Health of the Nation’s Children; 2007)

    Studies show that dieting, even that considered “naturalistic”, among young people lead to weight cycling [Naturalistic weight reduction efforts predicted weight gain and onset of obesity in adolescent girls;

    There is an evidence-based compassionate alternative to conventional dieting: Health At Every Size®. Please consider this alternative prior to making a decision that may result in weight cycling.

    I would also like to recommend the free NAAFA Child Advocacy ToolkitSM (CATK) and other written guidelines/resources. The NAAFA Child Advocacy Toolkit shows how Health At Every Size® takes the focus off weight and directs it to healthful eating and enjoyable movement. It addresses the bullying, building positive self-image and eliminating stigmatization of large children. Additionally, the CATK lists resources available to parents and educators or caregivers for educational materials, curriculum and programming that is beneficial for all children. It can be found at:

    For more information on Health At Every Size, you can find a general explanation on Wikipedia ( or find in-depth research-based information in the book Health At Every Size – The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Dr. Linda Bacon (

    August 9, 2012 at 2:06 am |