How the Tyler Clementi Foundation Combats Bullying
Steve Adubato sits down with Joe Clementi, Co-Founder, Tyler Clementi Foundation, to discuss his son, Tyler's, tragic experience with bullying and how it inspired Joe to work towards eliminating bullying across the country, including the LGBTQ community.
"Welcome back to Think Tank. I'm Steve Adubato. We continue the conversation on breaking the cycle, youth and teen bullying and abuse. We're joined by our good friend Joe Clementi, who is the co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. Good to see you Joe. Good to see you Steve. Last time we saw each other was at the Russ Berrie Awards for Making a Difference. That's right. A powerful conversation we had with you, and we wanted to have you back here. Tyler was 18 years of age? A student at Rutgers? He was. 2010? Talk to us. People hear it but they don't understand it or know it. Well Tyler was a gay young man who had just come out a couple of days before he left for college at Rutgers University. And during that time at his first couple of weeks at Rutgers, he was web cammed by a student at the dorm in an embarrassing situation with another man, and a couple of days after that, we had found out he had died by suicide. Naturally after that, there was an investigation, there was a trial, and there was a whole series of things that happened that were very difficult on the family and on everybody. And for some reason Tyler's story seemed to make the media more than the other three people that died similarly due to bullying that month in that year. Joe, social media is a part of this? Technology is a part of it? Teen bullying and abuse. But what's the biggest lesson that not only that you had and your family have taken, but that you want to share with our audience about breaking the cycle? Given what happened to Tyler and to so many others? In order to break the cycle, people have to pledge that they won't engage in bullying, and they have to recognize bullying. Sometimes we do things that we don't recognize what it is, and other people don't call us on it. So don't be afraid to call somebody on it. Okay. So this thing... by the way, we're talking to Joe Clementi, the co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. The upstander pledge is what? And why does it matter? We developed that early on at the foundation in order to get people to make a commitment to not bully, and if they see bullying, to recognize it and to either take an action to either intervene or to tell somebody else about it, because these were the weaknesses we saw with Tyler, and what his experience in what happened to him at the university. Many people knew he was being webcammed in advance, but nobody did anything..."