School Climate & Safety News in Brief

On the Bully Pulpit to Stop Bullying

By Alyson Klein — May 15, 2018 1 min read
First lady Melania Trump speaks about her initiative to promote the well-being of children during an event at the White House.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

First lady Melania Trump unveiled her new “Be Best” initiative last week aimed at promoting emotional well-being, combating cyberbullying, and fighting the opioid crisis.

“As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction, or even suicide,” she said during a White House Rose Garden press conference. “I feel strongly that as adults, we can and should ‘be best’ at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life.”

The first lady has already laid the groundwork for part of the initiative, meeting in March with tech executives from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Snap for a roundtable discussion on cyberbullying. She and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos also recently sat down with teenagers to talk about their lives and problems at school.

During the campaign, when Mrs. Trump first indicated that she was interested in making bullying prevention a central tenet of her tenure as first lady, some critics quickly suggested she start by talking to her own husband about his Twitter feed, which he often uses to mock his opponents. Others said that she should learn more about the relationship between cyberbullying and in-person bullying and look into state efforts to combat bullying, which have often lacked enforcement action.

President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposed scrapping the Student Support and Enhanced Academic grant program at the U.S. Department of Education, which can help schools bolster social-emotional learning, combat bullying, and deal with the opioid crisis. But Congress, which just gave a $700 million boost to the program, seems poised to ignore the administration’s request to zero it out.

The Obama administration made a big play to crack down on bullying, in part by funding research to explore possible solutions, and by aggressively investigating civil rights complaints in schools. Schools that don’t address bullying on the basis of religion, race, or gender can be found in violation of civil rights laws.

Other recent first ladies also have focused on children’s issues: Laura Bush promoted children’s literacy, and Michelle Obama championed healthy eating and exercise, especially for young people.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2018 edition of Education Week as On the Bully Pulpit to Stop Bullying

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Roads Around Schools Are Unsafe, Principals Say. Here's What to Do About It
Traffic conditions aren't fully within school leaders' control. But there are still steps schools can take to help students arrive safely.
4 min read
Focus is on a flashing school bus stop sign in the foreground as a group of schoolchildren cross a parking lot with the help of a crossing guard in the distance.
E+
School Climate & Safety Video Should Teachers Carry Guns? How Two Principals Answer This Question
One has two armed school employees. The other thinks arming teachers is a bad idea.
4 min read
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
People hold signs in the gallery against a bill that would allow some teachers to be armed in schools during a legislative session in the House chamber on April 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.
George Walker IV/AP
School Climate & Safety Former Uvalde Police Chief Indicted Over Response to Robb Elementary Shooting
The former chief and another former officer face felony charges of child endangerment and abandonment.
3 min read
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at the school.
Flowers are placed around a welcome sign outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in the shooting at the school.
Jae C. Hong/AP
School Climate & Safety Can a Teachers' 'Bill of Rights' Bring Order to the Classroom?
Alabama's new law gives teachers the authority to remove misbehaving students from class.
4 min read
Image of a student sitting outside of a doorway.
DigitalVision