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Anti-Bullying Caucus Launching In Congress

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For Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), creating an Anti-Bullying Caucus in Congress was more personal than political.

"As a Japanese American born at the height of World War II, I was placed in an internment camp before I could walk or talk," Honda wrote in a statement.

"For many years after the war, I endured confrontations and insults from my peers solely because of my appearance."

Honda will launch the bipartisan Anti-Bullying Caucus on Thursday, in an attempt to "stop bullying -- both offline and online," according to a release from his office. At least 42 other representatives -- including three House Republicans -- have joined the effort to empower bullied "youth, seniors, religious communities and LGBT-identifying individuals," among others.

Bullying affected Honda's concentration in school, according to Jack d'Annibale, Honda's communications director.

"He struggled as a student," he told The Huffington Post. "It was difficult to be that fearful, and difficult to find his place in the community and the country because of it."

As a science teacher and an elementary school principal and administrator, Honda dealt with "both the bullied and the bullies themselves," said d'Annibale. "He's been on the front lines of this issue for 30 years."

Honda, who represents a large portion of Silicon Valley, including Cupertino, made sure the caucus mission statement specifically addressed cyberbullying, since online attacks are a "fierce and urgent component of the issue as a whole," d'Annibale said. The focus on cyberbullying earned the caucus the support of social media giant Facebook.

In fact, more than 30 groups, including Change.org, the Human Rights Council and the AARP, have pledged to support the caucus. The Department of Education also teamed up with the caucus to address the issue.

This is not Honda's first move to quell bullying around the country. In March, he petitioned the Motion Picture Association of America to reduce its rating of the documentary "Bully" from 'R' to 'PG-13' in an effort to allow younger audiences to see the film. That film will be screened at the Department of Education Thursday evening.

The anti-bullying movement has garnered national attention this year, and President Barack Obama has endorsed two anti-bullying bills, the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.

Honda and his Democratic colleagues are joined on the caucus by Republican Reps. Charles Bass (N.H.), Robert Dold (Ill.) and Frank LoBiondo (N.J.).

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