(Photo: Courtesy StopBullyingSpeakUp.com)
On Sunday evening (March 18), President Barack Obama delivered a message to kids on anti-bullying for the debut of To SPEAK UP Against Bullying, a 30-minute film about bullied youth that aired on Cartoon Network. The documentary is part of the network's "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" campaign and included appearances by 8-to-13-year-old kids who've been bullied as well as athletes and role models like Venus Williams, Chris Webber, Lisa Leslie, Hope Solo and others.
Obama, who's admitted that he was also harassed in the schoolyard when he was younger, held the first White House conference on bullying last year and launched stopbullying.gov to provide information on prevention. According to the White House, an estimated 13 million children are bullied each year.
“Bullying is not a rite of passage or harmless part of growing up,” Obama said. “It’s wrong. Its destructive and we can all prevent it.”
The movie aired just two days after former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi was found guilty of charges in connection to spying and bullying his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, who later committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in 2010.
Another upcoming documentary, Bully, will also bring the harsh realities of bullying to the big screen. It's slated to be released March 30, but its producers are trying to lower its current PG-13 rating so more children can watch the film.
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