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Mayors in 170 Cities Nationwide Pledge Support for New Initiative to Combat Bullying in Local School Districts

WASHINGTON, DC -- As part of a major new national initiative, The United States Conference of Mayors has announced the launch of a new partnership with The BULLY Project - the Mayors’ Campaign to End Bullying - to develop a series of evidence-based responses to combat the epidemic of bullying in school districts nationwide. As part of the new project, more than 170 mayors from around the country signed on in the Campaign’s first weekend, pledging to raise awareness, foster safe school climates, and work with educational experts partnering with The BULLY Project to create customized plans, rooted in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) practice - to address bullying in their local school districts.

"As community leaders, it is the responsibility of mayors to raise awareness and educate city residents about not only the potentially tragic effects of bullying, but also the many real ways that school climate impacts how our schools perform and innovate,” said Sacramento Mayor and USCM President Kevin Johnson. “Developing and implementing long term anti-bullying initiatives that engage top level community stakeholders including superintendents, law enforcement and philanthropic leaders is critical for the health and safety of not only our children, but all our residents. We are proud to stand in partnership with The BULLY Project on this historic Mayors campaign in order to end bullying once and for all in the nation's cities.”

The Mayors’ Campaign to End Bullying - which launched on Saturday, June 21st at the 82nd Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors Meeting in Dallas - has already gained the support from more than 170 mayors nationwide, with nearly 70 percent of The U.S. Conference of Mayors attendees signing on in the first few days to tackle the issue of bullying in their local schools during National Bullying Prevention Month in October.

"Bullying has an impact on children’s achievement in school all the way to the personal tragedy of suicide. As Mayors, we have the convening power to be able to bring our constituents together and talk to them about how we can prevent bullying, how we can protect our kids who are being bullied and how we can challenge our educators and schools to become schools where all kids feel connected and welcome. I am honored to lead the Mayors’ Campaign to End Bullying," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Mayors in more than 150 cities, including: Little Rock, AR; Mobile, AL; Phoenix, AZ; San Francisco CA; Sacramento, CA; Tallahassee, FL; Orlando, FL; Des Moines, IA; Louisville, KY; New Orleans, LA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; St. Louis, MO; Kansas City, MO; Raleigh, NC; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Charleston, SC; Nashville, TN; Houston, TX; and Madison, WI have already signed on.

FOR A FULL LIST OF PARTICIPATING CITIES AND MAYORS BY STATE:
http://www.usmayors.org/workforce/documents/2014-7-14EnrolledMayors-TheBullyProject-byState.pdf

As part of the initiative, mayors will have access to technical support from a team of education specialists at the University of Illinois in partnership with The BULLY Project. The experts will provide participating mayors with advice and research on programmatic approaches to ending bullying, so that solutions developed through the initiative are based strongly on recognized best practices and have a sustainable impact that lasts beyond National Bullying Prevention Month in October.

The BULLY Project will also provide participating mayors with screening resources, including the film and a specialized discussion guide, strategic event support, and supplemental educational resources to help mayors plan and host scalable events that raise local awareness and focus community efforts to keep schools safe.

“With Congress stalled on legislation to end the bullying epidemic, including the Safe Schools Improvement Act, the Mayors’ Campaign to End Bullying is a critical initiative to establish policies and programs that would improve the lives of the 13 million kids bullied in America each year,” explained Lee Hirsch, BULLY filmmaker, and founder of The BULLY Project. “Working with America’s mayors, and the experts at the University of Illinois, we are aiming to move beyond temporary fixes and engage the community in developing and implementing real, solutions-based responses to bullying, so that we can enable all children to learn and thrive in safe environments. I am beyond thrilled by the response we received, with 160 Mayors already onboard, this campaign is a game-changer.”

"Every child deserves a chance to wake up every morning and go to school without fear of being bullied. My administration is 100% committed to creating safe environments for our children to learn, grow, and thrive,” explained Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “At The US Conference of Mayors, I was proud to join mayors from around the country who share the same vision in this campaign to end bullying.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.

The BULLY Project is an advocacy and educational organization inspired by the award winning film, BULLY. Since 2011, BULLY has been seen by more than 3.4 million children through nearly 10,000 school and community screenings. Working with more than 100 partners globally, The BULLY Project motivates and builds capacity for educators to create safer schools, reduce bullying and improve educational outcomes for all. Find out more at www.thebullyproject.com, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/bullymovie or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/bullymovie.

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