Speak Up to Bullying

Ashley Arminio

Bullying is an ongoing issue that is faced every day by children and teens across America, and President Obama is speaking up. Obama hosted the first White House conference on bullying last year. The president talked about his personal experiences with bullying and how it had affected his childhood. Being the father of two daughters, Obama spoke up on his understanding of the issue and how it is important that parents get involved. He said, “We’ve all got more work to do. Everyone has to take action against bullying.”

Obama will be making a special appearance opening the film Speak Up with an introduction encouraging victims to use their voice for this positive reinforcement. The film’s message will, in hopes, be an eye-opener to many, and stimulate not only the youth, but also parents that this is a serious matter, and something has to be done. All it takes is a driven community with a voice to be heard and listened to.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ASPCC), each day an estimated 160,000 students in the USA refuse to go to school because they dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers. Approximately 25 percent of school bullies will be convicted of a criminal offense in their adult years. Cartoon Network’s Speak Up is a documentary bringing forth the message on bullying across America. It consists of candid interviews with kids, mostly between the ages of eight and 13 years old, who are or have been targeted, bystanders in a situation, or even bullies themselves. It also includes interviews with celebrities and athletes including Venus Williams, Chris Webber, Lisa Leslie, soccer player Hope Solo, BMX bike rider Matt Wilhelm, and NASCAR drivers Trevor Bayne, Jeff Burton, and Joey Logano.

Cartoon Network proposes that Speak Up is an extension of Cartoon Network’s renown initiative “Stop Bullying: Speak Up.” “It is working to bring an end to bullying and continue to show how serious a problem it is and far from the rite of passage it’s often made out to be.” The 30-minute film ran without commercials on Sunday March 18, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. on Cartoon Network.