5th-Grader Grabs Obama's Attention on Bullying

President responds to 11-year-old's letter
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2010 4:45 PM CDT
President Barack Obama walks into a classroom to have a discussion with 6th grade students at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – Life at school had become a daily horror for Ziainey Stokes, a Philadelphia 5th-grader relentlessly teased by bullies. When she decided to ask for help, Ziainey skipped her teachers and principal and went straight to the top—President Obama, who responded to her letter and has inspired her to try to start a national anti-bullying organization.

"What I wrote about [in my letter] was that the kids at my school were being bullied and how it wasn't right," Ziainey tells the Philadelphia Inquirer. The president, who reads 10 letters from the public each day and personally answers a handful, replied: "Your letter demonstrates a desire to change the culture of your classroom as well as your community." Ziainey is now recruiting people for her still-unnamed group and researching similar organizations. "She's really taken an initiative," says her mom, "and I stand by her."

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