Obama confesses he was bullied as kid

Washington: US President Barack Obama has said he faced bullying as kid and was taunted over his big ears and unusual name.

"I have to say with big ears and the name that I have, I wasn`t immune. I didn`t emerge unscathed," Obama said while opening in the White House a summit on preventing bullying yesterday.

"Bullying isn`t a problem that makes headlines every day, but every day it touches the lives of people all across the country," Obama said as the White House released figures to say that nearly a third of school children or 13 million students were bullied each year in America.

Obama set a goal of dispelling bullying from all educational institutions and said schools should join efforts against bullying.

"If there is one goal of this conference, it is to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up," Obama said.

"It`s not. Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people."

The president stressed that kids, parents and schools shouldn`t approach bullying as business-as-usual and recalled writing about his own sometimes difficult childhood in Hawaii in Indonesia.

First Lady Michelle Obama joined her husband in stressing that bullying should be banished from schools. She quoted some high-profile cases from media saying that bullying had even led to suicide among kids.

The day-long conference included sessions and discussions on cyberbullying, campus bullying and pioneering new programmes to combat harassment of school children.