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Anti-bullying ad campaign targets parents (with streaming video from Tuesday's summit)

BY JOSH LEDERMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON -- Parents are urged to teach their kids to speak up if they witness school bullying in new ads that target an issue that top Obama administration officials vow to make a national priority.

A long-term campaign featuring television, print and web ads was unveiled Monday and will start running in October. The campaign is a joint effort by the Ad Council, a nonprofit that distributes public service announcements, and the Free to Be Foundation, a group that includes entertainers Marlo Thomas, Alan Alda and Mel Brooks.

In one television ad, two girls are seen bullying a schoolmate, mocking her appearance and telling her that nobody likes her. A fourth girl looks on but doesn't intervene.

"Every day, kids witness bullying," says a narrator. "They want to help, but don't know how. Teach your kids how to be more than a bystander."

Online and print ads will warn parents that their kids regularly encounter negative messages such as "you're worthless" and "everybody hates you."

The ads were unveiled Monday at an annual anti-bullying summit hosted by the Department of Education in Washington, where lawmakers, educators and government officials convened to develop a national strategy aimed at ensuring a safe, healthy learning environment for students. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed the summit Monday, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will deliver a keynote speech on Tuesday.

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