Keep It Cool: Prevent Bullying Before It Begins
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Welcome to the Tyler Clementi Foundation

  • Featured Post

    You Can Stop Bullying and Cyberbullying In Its Tracks

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    It’s happened to all of us – our temper rises, our muscles clench, and suddenly, we’re not thinking. In our fury, we’re spitting out or furiously typing words that don’t’ represent our character, or who we are. Often, in the heat of a tense situation, emotions can run high, and that’s when bullying or cyber-bullying occurs. When this happens, how do we know to tone it down? De-escalation can be critical to protecting victims and ensuring that bullies or cyberbullies are safely stopped. How, then, do we de-escalate the situation or #KeepItCool?

    From a proactive perspective, stopping cyberbullying before the damage is done can be rooted in pledging to a movement or a solution that aims to stop the spread of hurtful words. At the Tyler Clementi Foundation, the #Day1 program aims to do this by encouraging individuals to pledge to stop cyberbullying with their fellow peers. From schools to the workplace, with a teacher or a director leading individuals in a verbal acknowledgement in the harm of bullying and cyber bullying, the #Day1 program can help promote tolerance and understanding on “Day 1” in groups of individuals. Furthermore, taking a stand using #Day1 can help spread positivity and the spirit of being an upstander, not a bystander.

    Technology can also be used to help address an issue that it has created. Another effective solution, ReThink, aims to proactively de-escalate cyberbullying online by empowering users to think twice before posting or sending any offensive content to anyone. When an individual attempts to post an offensive message online, such as “You are so ugly,” ReThink gives that individual a chance to reconsider: “Are you sure you want to say that? It could be offensive.” Globally acclaimed research shows that 93% of the time, adolescents using ReThink changed their minds and decided not to post offensive content.

    tcf-social-keep-cool-deescalation-tileIn the midst of bullying or cyberbullying, however, how can one de-escalate the situation? Immediate actions vary based on one’s role in the situations. For victims, it can be critical to immediately distance yourself and ignore the bully. Scientific research shows that offenders often crave attention; by ignoring them, victims remove any incentive for bullies or cyberbullies to hurt others. Block them online, or walk away from the situation. There is never any shame in distancing yourself from a bully or a cyberbully. By walking away, you are elevating yourself above their hurtful words, and showing them you will not lower yourself to their antics. If you are suffering specifically from cyberbullying, save any evidence. Immediately contact a trusted adult or law enforcement with your evidence – do not try to tackle the situation on your own. An important facet of de-escalation is ensuring you do not intensify the bullying or cyberbullying. Though it can be intimidating or frightening, talking to an adult or trusted friend is the best way to de-escalate the situation.

    There is, however, another possible role in a bullying or cyberbullying situation: the role of the upstander. When in a hallway or online, upstanders see the bullying or cyberbullying and directly address the bully or cyberbullying. In order to effectively de-escalate the situation while confronting the offender, upstanders have to be careful. As an upstander, if you see something offensive, do not attack the bully or cyberbully. Instead, state the fact that you believe their actions are negative and hurtful. Come to the root of the problem without insulting the offender: “I’m disappointed that you would use language like that, and I do not approve of your conduct.” Then, walk away. There is no need to engage or heighten the bully or cyberbully in a fight. Even one moment of advocacy can be enough to stop a bully or cyberbully in his or her tracks.

    Bullying and cyberbullying are issues that affect millions of teenagers across the globe, and increasingly, it’s becoming important that young people speak up. As a teenager myself, I know that that we can only tackle this silent pandemic when we make the conscious decision to de-escalate hate on a local and global level. Find your voice – and use it to spread positivity.

    Learn more tips and see more resources for how you can #KeepItCool this summer.


    Trisha Prabhu is Founder and CEO of ReThink, Inc. as well as a Tyler Clementi Foundation board member. Learn more about her here.


    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.


  • Featured Post

    Keep It Cool By Building Online Civility

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    There’s no denying that we are experiencing a time when there is a crack in civility online. According to a new survey, eighty-four percent of Americans have experienced incivility first-hand and sixty-nine percent believe that social media and the Internet are to blame.

    Seventy-five percent of American’s believe that the change begins with us.

    How can we help de-escalate incivility?

    First, we need to understand the “why”: Much of our online behavior is a reflection of our offline character.

    Make no mistake about it, the first impression most people will have of us is our digital one. From college recruiters reviewing social media feeds to employers examining digital reputations, your virtual behavior can determine your future.

    Most importantly, empathy for others-not only offline–but especially online, is exactly how we can combat incivility and cruelty.

    Patience is a virtue.

    As cliché as it sounds, this phrase is one that we can all stand to remember and refer to these days, especially when it comes to sending a hasty text message or sensitive email. Wait 24-hours.

    Download these social tiles to share in your network and prevent cyberbullying.

    Click to see full image.
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    2017-07-keep-cool-cybertip-caring-tile

    Waiting to send will give you time to consider the “3 C’s of Social Media” (aka, “How To Keep It Cool Online”):

    • Conduct: Control yourself. Remember, there’s a person on other side of the screen.
    • Content: Limit your sharing. Will what you are about to share embarrass or humiliate someone?
    • Caring: Are you posting with empathy?

    Help, I can’t believe they posted that!

    Most of us have had the experience of reading a post that elicits our darker angels and makes us want to respond to with anger. Who hasn’t had a bad day that makes us want to lash out with our keypad? This is exactly when we need to keep it cool. Consider the 3 C’s above, and implement the art of not commenting or simply clicking out.

    Learn to use your words with wisdom, be constructive, not combative. Commenting is a privilege. It’s an opportunity for you to showcase respect. If you don’t think you can do this– there is nothing wrong with a little digital detox or simply moving on from the post.

    As I often tell others, when in doubt — it’s time to click out.

    Quality over quantity: When “like’s,” forwards and comments perpetrate hate.

    Have you ever considered that when you “like,” forward or even comment on a video, image, message or any social media post — it is the same as endorsing it? We watch people carelessly “liking” photos, messages and other things online without really thinking what they are about. Some are forwarding mean memes or questionable content without realizing the consequences. They are staking their reputation on their online actions.

    Hate perpetrates hate.

    When you keep it cool, you get the opportunity to pause, read that post, listen to that video, and think — is this really something I want to put my stamp of approval on? Remember, your name will be forever associated whatever it is.

    Kids today are especially quick to seek validation through the number of “likes” they get without realizing that these are not quality endorsements. The same people who “like” you today might turn on you in a “snap” or with one post gone ugly.

    As summer heats up, it’s important that we all remember, no matter what our age, when it comes to digital devices, it’s important to keep our cool. You will be surprised at how this can drastically reduce your chances of becoming a perpetrator or victim of digital disaster.

    Learn more tips and see more resources for how you can #KeepItCool this summer.


    tcf-post2174-expert-sue-scheffFounder and President of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts Inc. (P.U.R.E.™), Sue Scheff has been leveraging her personal experiences to help others through her organization since 2001. She is a Family Internet Safety Advocate determined to save other parents from encountering the same challenges and issues she faced when searching for a safe, effective program for her own daughter during her troubled teen years. Sue Scheff established P.U.R.E.™ as an advocacy organization to educate parents about the schooling and program options available to pre-teens and teenagers experiencing behavioral problems. She is the author of the book Shame Nation. You can find her blog here. She is also available on Twitter or Facebook.


    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.


  • Featured Post

    Download the Annual Report

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    We wish to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our generous donors, in particular those listed in the new report. We are delighted to have the opportunity to highlight their support and all that it helped us achieve in the past year.

    In 2016, with their support, we:

    • Reached over 14,000 people through our Upstander Speaker Series and addressed diverse crowds ranging from 12 to 5,000 attendees at 35 different schools and corporate campuses
    • Engaged thousands of teens through our involvement with the AT&T Film invitational at the All American High School Film Festival
    • and helped co-launch an innovative Law School Legal Clinic to provide free, legal assistance to victims of online abuse

    DOWNLOAD REPORT

    Thanks to our generous donors, the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s free bullying-prevention tools are reaching more and more students and employees than ever before. To learn more, we invite you to view the report at your convenience, and hope you will continue to follow our work!


  • Featured Post

    The Tyler Clementi Foundation has officially kicked off a national search for our next Executive Director.

    Please find the link to the job announcement here.

    Please consider forwarding this announcement to friends, family, and relevant forums and list-serves so we can reach as many people as possible about this opportunity.


  • Featured Post

    Meet Charlotte Simpson

    Students of Ridgewood High School Hang Pride Flag
    What year of school are you in? What are you most excited about for the summer?
    I just finished my junior year of Ridgewood High School. I like to keep busy over the summer, and right now I am really excited to be in the pit orchestra for our summer high school musical, The Pajama Game.

    What got you to join the Ridgewood High School Gay-Straight Alliance? What do you feel like the impact of that program has been for you?
    I joined the Gay-Straight Alliance my freshman year. At the time I had friends who were a part of the LGBTQ+ community and I thought joining the club would be a good way for me to provide them with support. From there, I became passionate about activism. At the time, gay marriage was not yet nationally legal, and this was the main injustice that made me want to work hard to create a safe place for LGBTQ+ students in the school as well as do something to make the school environment a better place for them.

    I became a co-leader of the GSA my sophomore year and worked hard to give the club more of an activist atmosphere and make it a safer place for the LGBT youth in the school. The club has had a tremendous impact on me these past two years. Not only has it taught me about leadership and responsibility, but it has also taught me to work hard for what I am passionate about. I think the club has really thrived this past year, raising money for the New Jersey Pride Center, selling pride flags to the community, having over 270 participants for day of silence, and, finally, being the first school in Bergen county to raise the pride flag in celebration of Pride Month.

    Making Change is Difficult, But It Is Far From ImpossibleWhat prompted you to bring the raising of the pride flag to the attention of the school? What was that process like? How did your friends and other GSA members support you?
    Beginning in May, the GSA was running a pride flag sale at the school in support of Pride Month. Another teacher of mine asked me if we were planning on putting the flag up outside of the school, and I thought it was an amazing idea. I brought the idea to the club’s teacher advisor, Ms. Soucy, and together we brought it to the principal, Dr. Gorman. The idea was met with little resistance. At first there were concerns of backlash from the community and worry that the flag would be seen as a political statement. After discussing further, Dr. Gorman, Ms. Soucy and I decided the flag was not political, but instead a necessary declaration of support and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ youth in the school and community. The process included countless emails and planning, but with a lot of hours and work, the flag went up about 2 weeks, which I think is amazing!

    Since the flag has gone up, the responses of the town and my classmates have been unbelievable. I worked with the hope that the flag would make just one person feel more supported by the school, and now seeing how many people the flag has touched inside and outside of RHS, is absolutely incredible. I really could not have done this alone. Everything we do as a club is tremendously supported by all the members, and getting the flag up was no exception. Many members stepped up to raise awareness and express the importance of the flag raising. Without Ms Soucy, Dr Gorman, and the entire club putting in so much effort, this would not have been possible. To them, I am very grateful.

    What does LGBTQ+ Pride mean to you?
    Pride is a word that carries a lot of weight in my life. To me, pride is how someone sees and holds themselves. For so long, member’s of the LGBTQ+ community have been deprived of this crucial human right to be proud of who they are. As the world becomes more and more accepting, people of all sexual and gender identities can now, some for the first time, have pride in themselves. This new age of love and self-acceptance deserves celebration, and demands attention. Even allies to the LGBTQ+ community should be proud to live in a place where people are not belittled for their sexual or gender identification. I believe everyone, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, and so on, should be ecstatic to be living in this changing time where love can just be love.

    How do you define bullying?
    Bullying is targeting someone to make them feel worthless, ostracized, and alone. Whether the victim is targeted because of race, sexual orientation, gender identification, or for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time is beside the point. The intention of a bully is to gain power by stripping it away from someone else, leaving them defenseless. By harassing someone physically, emotionally, socially, or online, a bully is destroying the self-worth of another human being in the cruelest way possible.

    Pride Flag Hangs at Ridgewood High SchoolYou go to the school that Tyler went to many years ago. How does that impact you?
    I was just beginning 5th grade at the time of Tyler’s death. At the time, though I couldn’t fully comprehend what had happened, I could see a definite shift in my home, in the school, and in the town. When my mom sat me and my sister down to talk about Tyler, I couldn’t understood more than that a boy got bullied for being himself, and he shouldn’t have. Tyler’s death stayed with me until I could fully comprehend what had happened, and I realized that the town had been faced with accepting the pain that LGBTQ+ youth go through. The shift in the town wasn’t just a somber one, but one that strengthened the community. Parents, students, and everyone that was touched by Tyler’s death knew changes had to be made to prevent more heartbreak in the town. Walking through the halls of Ridgewood High School, the thought of Tyler sticks with me, like I think it does with most of my fellow classmates. When deciding how to treat people and how to help people, or even if I should hold open the door for the kid running down the hall with their hands full, I think of the impact my actions can have on the people around me. Tyler’s death taught me, along with the rest of the town, to consider others even if I don’t know them. Because anyone can be going through the same struggles as Tyler, even if no one knows it.

    If you could share with him some of your thoughts with Tyler, what would you share?
    When the flag was raised, many LGBTQ+ alumni from Ridgewood High School told me how grateful they were that the flag is up and about how much the school and the community has changed since their teenage years. I wish I could just show Tyler that things really do get better. It could take months, it could take years. But change is constant, and right now things are changing for the better. If Tyler could see the flag in front of the school and the community-wide support for everything the GSA has done, I hope he would be proud of how far our community has come. Knowing what Tyler went through, I want nothing more than to do my best to prevent anyone else from going through the same thing.

    How often do you feel like LGBTQ+ people you know (and this may or may not include yourself) experience bullying? Have you ever experienced bullying? Have you ever witnessed it? If so, please share as much as you feel comfortable with and what the impacts on your life have been?
    I have not directly experienced or seen bullying at Ridgewood High School, but have witnessed more of a general misunderstanding or subtle lack of acceptance for LGBTQ+ students or LGBTQ+ pride. One of the things I would like to do is spread education of sexuality and gender, and show how simple it is to accept others even if you don’t understand them.

    Students of Ridgewood High School Hang Pride FlagDo you feel like you have a place to go or people to talk to if you have been bullied? Do you know other students that might not have a support system around them?
    I believe that Ridgewood High School has an exceptional support system for students seeking help from the school, whether it is about bullying or any other issue. We have two incredible crisis counselors that many students utilize who are readily available and easily accessible. I make sure to make it clear to our club members how easy it is to get help from the school. I believe that the GSA provides a safe place and support system for students who may feel ostracized. I really do think that the students at RHS have extraordinary resources to seek help, and I would love to ensure that students at all schools could be provided with the same level of support, from their administration and peers.

    What’s the thing you want an LGBTQ+ person or an ally to think when they see the pride flag raised over the school?
    My goal in getting the pride flag raised was for even just one person to know that someone out there is fighting for them. I hope that when passing the flag, LGBTQ+ students who may feel unaccepted or on the fringe can be reminded that there is a safe place for them in the GSA and that the administration truly does support the community, which I think is inspiring. I hope seeing such a prominent display of support for the LGBT community can also help to show students, LGBT or not, that it is okay to identify as whatever they want, and that it is necessary to accept and support each other in order to grow as a community. Aside from the GSA’s intentions, I really hope that the flag inspires other students to stand up and fight for what they are passionate about. Making change is difficult, but it is also far from impossible.


    Charlotte Simpson is a passionate and dedicated student, friend, and leader. Besides being in the GSA, spends her time as a Piccolo and the Flute section leader in her school’s marching band and as the historian for the Band Council. On the weekends she enjoys working out, reading and spending time with her friends and family. Follow her on Instagram.

    Photos courtesy of Ridgewood High School student Lia Collado


    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.


  • Featured Post

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Honors Jane and Joseph Clementi with its Making a Difference Award

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    The Anti-Defamation League—the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism—presents its 2017 Making A Difference Award to Jane and Joe Clementi, co-founders of the Tyler Clementi Foundation.

    Jason Sirois, Director of ADL’s No Place For Hate says, “ADL sees the Tyler Clementi Foundation as an example of two people who saw a need and decided to do something about it. We hope this recognition ignites the innovation of young leaders and educators across the country to tackle issues of bias and bullying in ways that will have sustainable impact.”

    tcf-social-adl-tile2“With the increase of bias motivated incidents, it is easy for individuals to feel as if there is nothing they can do to stop these incidents from happening,” says Sirois. “[As part of #Day1], asking leaders in schools, workplaces and faith communities to declare that cruelty, bullying, harassment and humiliation will not be tolerated is the first step to creating a culture that inspires others to move from being bystanders to upstanders,” says ADL’s New York Region’s Education Director Nicola Straker.


  • Featured Post

    Bullying is Preventable; Prevention Starts With Standing Up Together.

    As a public health practitioner, I have been working with state and local governments on a range of issues involving adolescent mental and reproductive health, such as depression, suicide ideation, sexual education, LGBT-specific health issues, and methods to increase self-efficacy and self-worth. I firmly believe that we cannot address each of these issues independently of one another, and in fact, we know that a comprehensive focus on these issues helps improve overall adolescent health and well-being.

    Bullying, whether towards children, adolescents, or adults, adversely affects every one of these issues, not just one issue alone. The detrimental effects of bullying has tremendous costs to society, which is shameful given that bullying is completely preventable.

    As with many public health concerns, a small amount of financial support for bullying prevention can reduce a considerably higher amount of medical and societal costs, which anyone would agree is a sound investment. For example, #Day1 is a free, easy-to-use bullying prevention program used in classrooms and workplaces nationwide to reduce bullying before it starts.

    From a personal standpoint, I am eager to address these issues as a minority LGBT individual who has personally encountered this discrimination and believes such bigotry cannot and should not occur now and into the future. Although I believe the LGBT community has made considerable strides in recent years in combating such prejudices, I firmly think that we, LGBT or not, need to continue working even harder now to reduce discrimination for our community as well as others that face prejudice and hostility.

    This is particularly true given the recent religious liberty executive order, which has anti-LGBT undertones, and its potential affect on increasing anxiety and stress among LGBT individuals and families. We have already seen such policies come forth from state governments and courthouses in Indiana to Kentucky to North Carolina and the detrimental effects it has had on our highly vulnerable community. Let your community know that faith doesn’t discriminate.

    Beyond the LGBT community, it distresses me that the current political and social climate has overtly tolerated, and in many cases, accepted religion-based bullying. We have seen a double-digit increase in anti-Semitic incidents within the last year and a continuous deluge of hate crimes against Muslims. We also have had either no or reluctant acknowledgement by the current federal administration on hate crimes against visible minorities, as evidenced against my own as an Indian-American with respect to the shootings that occurred in Kansas City in February of this year.

    This is an opportune time more now than ever to help reduce bigotry and discrimination against the LGBT community and other minority communities and I am looking forward to working with The Tyler Clementi Foundation, its board, and Upstanders like you to help make this change happen.

    Join with me now by taking the Upstander Pledge.

    Vikrum Vishnubhakta is a member of the board for the Tyler Clementi Foundation. Learn more about him here.


    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.


  • Featured Post

    Tyler Clementi Foundation Executive Director Sean Kosofsky Announces Departure

    Sean M. Kosofsky(NYC) Sean Kosofsky, the first full-time Executive Director for the Tyler Clementi Foundation has announced he will leave the organization later this summer. The organization will soon launch a national search for its next leader.

    Kosofsky was hired as TCF’s first full-time Executive Director and came to New York to lead the organization in August of 2014. Since that time Kosofsky has worked with the Clementi family and their national board to build the startup nonprofit into a sophisticated and nationally respected thought leader and advocacy organization in the realm of bullying prevention.

    “I am so proud of the work we have achieved together. We have raised awareness of millions of people that bullying is not a rite of passage; but a public health threat. We have impacted tens of thousands of people directly with our programs,” said Kosofsky. “Last summer I fell in love and have been managing a long-distance relationship. It’s time to join my partner in San Francisco when my current contract ends in August, and begin a new life with him. My time at TCF and our collective accomplishments have been some of the most meaningful of my life. I will continue to support TCF because I believe in its mission and the Clementi family.”

    Some key accomplishments since 2014 include:

    “On behalf of Jane and myself, I would like to thank Sean for his work with the Foundation and wish him well with his future endeavors”, said Joe Clementi, president of the board of trustees.
    “Sean has been an incredible asset to the organization, helping us build and transform the organization. We have greater capacity and a more focused vision than ever before, and that will help through the next phase of our work. We are now focused on finding new leadership that will take us to the next level,” said Laura Birk, board member and leader of the national search for the new Executive Director.

    The Tyler Clementi Foundation is one of the leading and most visible anti-bullying organizations in the world. Their mission is to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities. For details on the national search stay tuned to TylerClementi.org and subscribe for email alerts.


  • Featured Post

    As LGBTQ Students, Schools Grapple with “Trump Effect,” Murray, Baldwin, Pocan Redouble Efforts to Pass Anti-Harassment Legislation

    LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to be harassed than their peers

    Yet there is no federal requirement that schools have policies in place to protect these students

    Legislation is named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, who took his own life after experiencing harassment, bullying


    (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), along with Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI), reintroduced legislation aimed at reducing bullying and harassment that affects one in five students at colleges and universities across the country. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2017 would require institutions of higher education to establish policies to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. The bill also establishes a grant program to support campus anti-harassment activities and programs. The legislation is named after Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University who took his own life after his roommate and another student invaded his privacy and harassed him over the Internet.

    Lawmakers are deeply concerned with the rise of hateful and intimidating incidents spreading throughout college campuses nationwide, including actions undertaken by President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to withdraw guidance pertaining to discrimination against transgender students under Title IX of the education amendments of 1972, and the appointment of people to lead the Office for Civil Rights at the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services who apparently disagree or outright oppose the mission or role of the office and have advocated against the policy they now must enforce.

    I support the TCHEA“Especially now, with a bully-in-chief in the White House, we need to make it clearer than ever that this kind of behavior simply should not be accepted,” said Senator Murray. “No student should ever have to fear discrimination and harassment in their pursuit of education, no matter who they are, what they believe, or who they love. President Trump may have won the election, but I am going to keep fighting to make it clear that bullies will not win and bullying will not be tolerated. I made a promise to families like Tyler’s, to keep fighting to protect our students, and I’m going to keep fighting for policies like this no matter how hard President Trump pushes us the other way.”

    “No student should have to live in fear of being who they are. Our schools should not be, and cannot be, places of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation, named in honor of Tyler Clementi, is an important step forward in not only preventing harassment on campus, but also making sure our students have the freedom to succeed in safe and healthy communities of learning and achievement. Everyone at colleges and universities across America should be able to pursue their dreams free of harassment and bullying.”

    “No student should be harassed for who they are, or who they love,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Bullying is a real and persistent danger for many LGBTQ students at our colleges and universities, but there is no federal legislation that specifically protects students from being targeted based on sexual orientation or gender identity. President Trump has not yet shown that his Administration will defend the rights of LGBTQ students. That’s why this bill is so important, as it ensures that institutions of higher learning are a place of open expression, which celebrate diversity and embrace students from all different backgrounds.”

    “We are grateful for the continual support from Senators Murray, Baldwin, and Representative Pocan as they reintroduce the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act to protect students from the harmful effects of bullying in institutions of higher education. Their commitment to join with us to make all institutions of higher education safe places to learn and thrive is commendable,” said Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. “I believe this bill will allow institutions of higher education to take a fresh look and reexamine their policies and procedures that are and are not in place. We must continue to provide safe and supportive learning environments for all students in all learning environments including higher education.”

    “No student should be bullied or made to feel unsafe in the place they should feel the most secure — their college or university,” said Chad Griffin, HRC President. “Senator Murray, Senator Baldwin, and Representative Pocan are committed to helping our young people thrive in an inclusive and supportive education environment, and we thank them for their unwavering leadership in championing this bill which will undoubtedly save lives and make our colleges and universities better and safer places.”

    “LGBTQ college students, like all students, deserve safe, affirming, and inclusive campuses in which to learn and excel,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director. “GLSEN is incredibly thankful to Sens. Patty Murray and Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Mark Pocan for again reintroducing the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act to help ensure all college students have access to safe and inclusive campuses. We look forward to working with members of Congress to pass this critically important bill.”

    “This bill is an important step forward in combatting harassment on college campuses. A federal requirement that institutions of higher education have comprehensive anti-harassment policies is long overdue, and a grant program to support prevention and training programs and support for victims of harassment is sorely needed,” said Fatima Goss Graves, Senior Vice President for Program and President-Elect, National Women’s Law Center.

    Read more about the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2017.

    Support the important work done by the Tyler Clementi Foundation through a gift making it possible for us to continue delivering programs that prevent bullying in addition to research and legislative initiatives to address the health crisis of bullying.

    TCF is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse or oppose any political party or candidate.


  • Featured Post

    Meet Upstander Barry Miller

    Portrait of Barry Miller
    You’ve lived in Orlando for several years. What did you think of the response to the Pulse tragedy from the Orlando community?
    After the tragedy, I was so inspired by the Orlando community’s response. I’ve lived in Orlando since 1983 and for the first time I saw community members rallying together to support the LGBT community. From blood banks overflowing to marches and speeches by local politicians, the community’s response was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. People came together from all different backgrounds to support each other. What stood out was the religious community, which has not traditionally been our supports, were there in support.

    How do you define bullying?

    Bullying is anytime someone feels inadequate, uncomfortable or less than equal. Everyone should feel safe and have a sense of belonging. Acceptance is key. When others create a sense of inadequacy because they are different, people begin to suffer and feel bullied. Bullying only breeds more bullying as it becomes a norm in a community.

    The Pulse tragedy can be seen as fueled by transphobia and homophobia, which continues to affect LGBTQIA youth in schools throughout the country. How do you see impact of this tragedy affecting the conversations communities must have about all prejudice and what do you feel each person in a community should be doing to challenge bigotry?
    The impact is awareness, the more people that become aware that prejudice is affecting our community every day in real ways, the better we can educate them to be cognizant, then people can see how to stop prejudice and embrace our differences. In almost all cases, bystanders are just as guilty as the bully. People need to prove that they are an ally to others, ready to fight and advocate for others when they witness bigotry. Education is key to awareness.

    Can you explain The 49 Fund? What inspired you to launch the fund?
    The 49 Fund is a scholarship fund that I created after seeing firsthand the impact of the Pulse tragedy in our community. I want to be sure that our community has leaders for the future. This unique scholarship will be offered specifically to LGBT students in Central Florida.  The scholarships will be awarded to students who will be the leaders of tomorrow and want to make a positive impact on our community. I was so inspired by my community’s response to the Pulse tragedy that I wanted to create this fund in honor of the 49 victims to ensure that we have great leaders for the future. The goal is to raise one million dollars so the fund will be endowed and continue in perpetuity.

    How can people donate to The 49 Fund? What if someone can’t afford it?
    We established The 49 Fund to be for everyone to be part of it. If you are a student, donate $4.90; if you are a young professional, $49; a small business, $490; a thriving entrepreneur, $4,900; or a successful business or leader, $49,000. Donations can be made online. One great part of the fund is that we welcome donations from everyone in the community and strive to make it affordable to make an impact. In doing so, we have various levels of contributions. Others in the community are committing to pledge $4900 over five years. There’s a contribution level for everyone that wants to make a difference.

    How can students apply for The 49 Fund?
    Students can apply online. The scholarships will be awarded to students who strive to by leaders and want to make a positive impact on our community. A 3.0 GPA, an essay, a letter of recommendation, and demonstration of a financial need are required. Preference will be given to any survivors and families of the victims of the Pulse tragedy.

    You’ve been very successful in business, what lessons have you borrowed from business when launching The 49 Fund?
    I’ve borrowed the lesson of rallying peers around this mission that I am passionate about. When I founded my companies, The Closing Agent and Barry Miller Law– it was only me. Since then, we’ve grown to 5 offices and over 30 employees. I’ve rallied employees around my company’s mission of providing outstanding closing, title and legal services just like I’ve tried to encourage my community to get involved in The 49 Fund. A core of my business is to give back to the community. In the past I have served as President of The Orlando LGBT Center, President of The Orlando International Fringe Festival (the oldest and largest in the US) and have sponsored many endeavors for arts and education. I currently serve as President of the Central Florida Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association (CFGALLA).

    As a business owner, how do you see bullying prevention in the workplace being a part of the solution to end bullying?
    Sadly, bullying doesn’t stop in schools. From my years in business, I’ve seen that there’s no place for bullying in the workplace. Employers must educate their employees that this is a real problem, everywhere. If businesses educate their employees, they can bring this information home and teach their children that bullying is just wrong and that tolerance, differences and uniqueness of people is what makes our nation and our communities great.

    Have you ever experienced (or witnessed) bullying? Can you share about that experience?
    Growing up, unfortunately I did experience bullying and it was very traumatic. When I was growing up there were no outlets for help, that is why it is so important today to get the word out…to educate on this important issue.

    What piece of advice would you give to someone who has been bullied?
    Borrowing from a line that I love, I’d tell someone that ‘it gets better.’ Every individual, no matter who they are, has felt like they were bullied before. What matters is how someone reacts to the situation of being bullied. I encourage children and adults to not stand idly by when they are being bullied or witness someone else getting bullied. Speak out against the indifference you see in the world. It is so important. Awareness, education and action will someday stop bullying.


    Barry Miller is a business professional in Orlando, Florida. Follow The 49 Fund on Facebookor visit The Fund 49 site.


    The views or experiences expressed are solely those of the contributor or interview subject and do not represent the views of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, its staff or board. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material, please contact the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and we appreciate your support and commitment to end bullying starting on #Day1.


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