President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama today will host a White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. They'll bring parents, teachers and experts to the executive mansion for a series of talks and seminars on how to stop bullying and help victims survive it.
Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns will attend the forum. Burns, the city's first openly gay council member, gained national attention for an anti-bullying speech he delivered in council chambers in October after a series of suicides by gay teens.
Critics say the forum is a poor use of the president's time and energy at a time of pressing needs elsewhere. They question whether the federal government even needs to get involved.
But Obama thinks he can turn a problem that troubles many localities into a national priority.
"This isn't an issue that makes headlines every day, but it affects every single young person in our country," Obama said in a video released Wednesday by the White House.
Staff writer John Henry contributed to this report.