(WASHINGTON) — President Obama opened up a 30-minute documentary on childhood bullying for Cartoon Network Sunday evening, continuing awareness initiatives he set into motion last year.
The minute-long introduction, which was pre-taped, featured the president speaking directly to the camera for the documentary titled To SPEAK UP Against Bullying.
“Bullying is not a rite of passage or harmless part of growing up,” Obama said. “It’s wrong. Its destructive and we can all prevent it.”
The president said that for him the issue is personal.
“I care about this issue deeply, not just as the president, but as a dad,” he said referring to his two daughters, Sasha and Malia.
Obama mentioned last year’s White House summit on bullying prevention in his opening remarks, adding that partnerships have been made “with schools and parents to raise awareness.”
According to the White House, an estimated 13 million students are bullied each year.
As he closed his remarks, Obama left viewers with a call to action to do more.
“Everyone has to take action against bullying,” he said. “Everyone has an obligation to make our schools and our communities safer for all our kids.”
The commercial-free documentary, which extends the network’s social initiative Stop Bullying: Speak Up, aired on Cartoon Network across the country on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
It featured a number of kids, mostly between the ages of 8 and 13, as well as a number of famous athletes, including tennis star Venus Williams, soccer goalie Hope Solo, extreme bike trickster Matt Wilhelm and Joey Logano, the youngest NASCAR champ.
The children spoke about their own bullying experiences and how to stand up to bullies.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio