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Friday, April 10, 2020

Columns

Bullied student’s suicide was preventable


The recent news of Tyler Clementi’s death has raised the topic of bullying to the news forefront. An increased awareness of bullying, its effects and its prevention have been growing in America since the death of this young man.

For those who do not know the story, Tyler Clementi was an 18-year-old male attending Rutgers University. He was barely an adult, had his entire life stretched out before him and was even a gifted musician, playing violin for several orchestras even being the concertmaster in one of them. He was talented and successful individual.

But after his sex life — something most of us prefer to keep private — was publicized on Twitter and then streamed via iChat by his roommate, Clementi saw no other options. What was the sole basis for this invasion into Clementi’s privacy? His sexual encounter was going to happen with another male. His roommate, finding it highly amusing and strange that his roommate was gay, decided to not only invade his privacy and break New Jersey state law but make fun of him in his own sad and sadistic way.

Tyler Clementi took his own life not long after the second video was published.

Many who are bullied end up developing self-hate. The reason self-hate develops is because bullying teaches it. The reason most children (or anyone) becomes a target of bullying is because they’re different.

The self-hate that develops is instilled deeply and often lasts well into one’s adult life. Like many psychological effects, bullying can leave permanent scars.

Bullying that takes place in the dark underbelly of our schools stems from a lack of tolerance and education on cultures that are different from ours and people within our own culture who might do things differently as well.

Many times this goes unchecked by the administration in schools; case in point, Tyler Clementi. He notified his R.A. but the system didn’t act in time to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.

What we need to do is teach our children that diversity is what makes us strong, not weak, and that tolerance and peace are high values in our minds. We need to promote stepping in and stopping bullying where we see it. We need to make it so the administrations of schools across the U.S. can punish and prevent bullying quickly and fairly.

Ian Everett is a creative writing freshman and may be reached at [email protected]


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