Lady Gaga is a source of strength for many young people who feel isolated and scared at their schools. Today, I had the opportunity to welcome her to the White House, where we discussed ways we could work together to make sure that no child comes under attack, regardless of his or her race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other factor.
One of Lady Gaga’s newest projects is joining together with the MacArthur Foundation and Harvard University to launch the Born This Way Foundation, which will explore ways to help change the culture, the policies, and the curriculum surrounding the safety of our children in school.
Lady Gaga has described this cause as a personal one – she has said that as a child, she was often picked on for being different. I am deeply moved by the way she has used her story, and her success, to inspire young people, and shine the spotlight on important issues.
I am proud to be part of an Administration that has taken steps to address bullying. In 2010, the Department of Education made it clear to schools that allowing bullying against LGBT students can violate anti-discrimination statutes. In 2011, the Department reaffirmed students’ rights to form gay-straight alliances and other similar groups. Earlier this year, President Obama and the First Lady held a White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. And today the Administration released a new analysis of state bullying laws and policies, summarizing the efforts currently in place to prevent bullying in and out of schools. The report shows that while states have made recent progress in enacting policies and legislation to address bullying, more must be done.
Over the last three years, we have seen that when we work together on behalf of human rights, we can accomplish truly amazing things, yet too many young people still remain at risk.
As we continue protecting our children, we look forward to working with Lady Gaga, the Born This Way Foundation, and with every American who is willing to help make our society more kind, inclusive, and equal.
Valerie Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to the President.