The federal government is putting its sizable muscles into a fight against bullying.
"I need your help," said Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez. "Every student has the right to go to school without facing threats, intimidation or harrassment."
Perez is with the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. He joined students at James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md., Tuesday to talk about bullying and harrassment in schools and what the department is doing to protect the civil rights of all students
But he also asked students to participate and not look the other way.
"We can not possibly prosecute our way out of this challenge. We must change attitudes," said Perez. "That courageous first step of reporting is something that can really bring about change."
Students also watched a video featuring DOJ employees ensuring young people that while times may be difficult in high school and at home, it does get better.
"We think about you and care about you and want you to be safe and happy," the video goes.
At the end of the event, there was an opportunity to sign the "It Gets Better" pledge, which focuses on speaking up and providing hope for all bullied teens.
If you or a student you know is being harassed or discriminated against, the Department of Justice's Educational Opportunities Section wants to know about it. Visit http://www.justice.gov/crt/edo/ or call 877-292-3804.