In the same week that a transgender woman became the first major party nominee for governor, a transgender girl was threatened with harassment and physical harm by parents in her school district. On a Facebook group for parents, several adults wrote violent and degrading messages about the student, who used the girls’ bathroom.
“When children use the internet or social media to harass, embarrass or demean their peers, it’s cyberbullying. But when adults use the internet to threaten violence to a child, it’s a crime,” said Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. “How are we supposed to expect children to be upstanders when parents like this are willing to exhibit such criminal, bullying behavior? The lesson of Tyler Clementi’s story is that this kind of vicious harassment can, and does, result in death. It shouldn’t take the death of a child for us to do the right thing and treat human beings with respect. We commend the school district for taking action to protect the safety of its students and we encourage all school districts to develop a plan to prevent bullying and stop this cruelty before it starts.”
The Tyler Clementi Foundation is dedicated to ending online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces and faith communities. Through programs such as #Day1, which provides guidance to establish values and expectations for behavior on day one, the foundation encourages teachers and administrators to create safe spaces where individuals move from being bystanders to Upstanders who embrace diversity and treat their peers with kindness and respect.