September 10, 2018
Media Contact: Meredith MacKenzie, West End Strategy Team, 202-412-4270 firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK – Monday, September 10 is National Suicide Prevention Day, part of the larger observance of Suicide Prevention Month in September. Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation lost her son Tyler to suicide after he was viciously cyberbullied as a freshman at Rutgers University in 2010. He died only a few weeks into the fall semester on September 22. The Foundation, created in his memory, works to end online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities. Clementi today released the following statement:
“We started the Tyler Clementi Foundation to make sure no one else would ever have to suffer the pain, shame and humiliation that Tyler experienced. All bullying events do not end in suicide, but many of today’s tragic youth suicides can be traced back to bullying incidents. This is why we believe if we can stop bullying, we can prevent the suicides that come as a result of the relentless cruelty from bullying.
“Bullying behavior is so much more than a simple power imbalance among young people in the classroom or schoolyard, or even those abusing or misusing social media in the digital world. Whenever someone with more perceived power aggressively targets a person or group of people with less power, whether by virtue of physical size or numbers in the group, that is bullying behavior.
“I believe the constant negative messages our LGBTQ youth hear over and over again are a form of bullying. Being part of the LGBTQ community puts these young people at a higher risk. These overwhelming and cruel messages are apparent in legislation that takes away their rights and protections, and they are also heard too often on Sunday mornings in the misguided religious teachings and interpretations that tell them they are broken, unlovable and separated from God. This type of bullying makes our children feel less than their peers, it is totally devastating and must stop. If we truly want to save lives, we must change these conversations.”
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.