On March 10, 2011, the White House held a conference on bullying prevention to address the growing nationwide concern over the problem of student harassment and bullying in schools. The ultimate aim of the conference, in the words of President Obama, was “to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.” Numerous studies have shown that bullying can have disastrous effects on the physical and psychological health of its victims.

In the wake of the conference, the Obama Administration launched StopBullying.gov, which serves to consolidate federal anti-bullying resources for students, parents, educators, and other interested individuals. Several pieces of anti-bullying and anti-harassment legislation have also been introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and are currently under review by a Congressional subcommittee. These include the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act, the Safe Schools Improvement Act, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and the Anti-Bullying and Harassment Act. ACA will continue to monitor legislative developments and provide updates on how these potential laws could impact the camp community.

ACA has long considered bullying prevention to be an issue of critical importance in promoting the health and safety of children at camp. ACA’s Web site maintains an extensive list of resources to help camp counselors, directors, and staff better understand what bullying is, why it occurs, and how best to prevent it. Please visit ACA’s online resource pages Bullying: Child Health and Safety Issues and Social Networking Issues and Cyberbullying for more information.