NEW YORK – In recognition of October as Bullying Prevention Month, Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, who lost her son Tyler to suicide after he was viciously cyberbullied as a freshman at Rutgers University in 2010, released the following statement:
“Bullying has no single cause and takes no single form, but it can be prevented. The effects of bullying can have lasting negative consequences on the lives of children, adults, families and communities. It is up to all of us to address bullying when we see it, and to create a culture that empowers Upstanders and ends bullying before it starts.
“To do so, we must recognize bullying when and where we see it. Bullying is in every cruel playground taunt or vicious social media post targeted at a child. Bullying is in bosses that cut down their employees needlessly. It is in every negative message LGBTQ people receive from legislation that takes away their rights and protections. It is in misguided religious teachings that tell LGBTQ youth they are broken, unlovable, and separated from God.
“The only way to prevent the devastating harms and deep loss that bullying can cause is to create a culture of kindness, where every person is valued, and no one is cut down, excluded, or demonized.”
The Tyler Clementi Foundation’s mission is to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces and faith communities. Founded in 2011 by the Clementi family in memory of Tyler – a son, brother and friend – the foundation’s flagship bullying-prevention and education program is #Day1. Other programs include the Upstander Pledge, Upstander Speaker Series, Tyler’s Suite, Workplace Training and True Faith Doesn’t Bully, a public education campaign that fights religious bullying. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, re-introduced in Congress in 2016, would require colleges and universities receiving federal funding to prohibit harassment based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.