WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama looked back Thursday at his own schooldays as he and his wife, Michelle, opened the first White House conference on bullying.
"As adults, we all remember what it was like to see kids picked on in the hallways or in the schoolyard," he said. "And I have to say, with big ears and the name that I have, I wasn't immune. I didn't emerge unscathed."
The president, speaking to a group that included experts on bullying and parents along with several members of Congress, said in some cases bullying can have long-term and even tragic consequences.
Michelle Obama, who was the first to speak, said parents have important responsibilities in this area. But she said bullying is an issue for the entire community.
"We all need to play a role -- as teachers, coaches, as faith leaders, elected officials, and anyone who's involved in our children's lives," she said. "And that doesn't just mean working to change our kids' behavior and recognize and reward kids who are already doing the right thing. It means thinking about our own behavior as adults as well."