Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus launches

It was already a crowded news day last Thursday when a large crowd gathered to witness the launch of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus. I took my own seat in the packed room as members of Congress and personal and professional advocates united behind a common call to action.

The Bully family, including Katy Butler, was well-represented.

As director Lee Hirsch put it:

[Bully was an] honest and real way [so that] that we couldn’t argue anymore about whether this was worth our time . . . Today marks the beginning of the tipping point . . . My job in this collective is to help change hearts and minds.

Tina Long continued:

Our current policies aren’t working. We need solutions . . . What we can do is save another child.

Her husband, David, invoked memories of their son, Tyler.

Tyler sent a message when he was here with us that change needs to happen.

Representative Laura Richardson offered one suggestion for how to move forward:

[We must teach our children that] our differences are our strengths and not things that we should fight about.

Dr. Joe Wright of the Child Health Advocacy Institute and the American Academy of Pediatrics offered another:

Young people are leading the way on this and adults need to catch up.

Dr. Eliza Byard, Executive Director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, agreed:

One supportive adult can save a life. Six or more can change a culture.

Robert Gebbia, Executive Director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, also urged that we expand our perspective:

As we work with the schools, we can't forget about all we need to do with parents and families.

Lee Cutler of the New York State United Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers spoke to the anti-bullying training that’s badly needed, and the training that often gets overlooked:

Many of us have had that training. I’ve had it. I was bullied.

Chairman Honda wrapped the panel portion of the day with an exercise that drove that point home. He told us to sit if we’d never been bullied. He told us to sit if we’d never been a bully. Hardly anyone did.

PFAW and AAMIA have voiced their support for Chairman Honda, and thank him, all Caucus members, and all those who presented or attended last Thursday.

We stand with you!