Posts Tagged ‘Tyler Clementi Foundation’

The Tyler Clementi Foundation’s Innovative New Anti-Bullying Campaign

Blog author Stan Kimer (in the center) with Tyler Clementi Foundation Executive Director Sean Kosofsky and Tyler's mother and foundation co-founder Jane Clementi

Blog author Stan Kimer (in the center) with Tyler Clementi Foundation Executive Director Sean Kosofsky and Tyler’s mother and foundation co-founder Jane Clementi

For this year’s annual October Bullying Awareness Month blog, I would like to introduce a new program being offered by the Tyler Clementi Foundation and rolled out through corporations and organizations. Why is this exciting and innovative? Because most Americans spend the vast majority of their waking hours on the job, so that is the logical place to roll out resources to assist in various aspects of life.

Here are four shorts questions and answers.

QUESTION 1: Who exactly is Tyler Clementi and why is there a foundation named after him?

ANSWER: Tyler Clementi (link to more of his story) was a talented teenager in his first year of college coming to terms with being gay. Without his knowledge, Tyler’s roommate secretly livestreamed him in an intimate act with another young man, and then shared the stream with Tyler’s university peers as well as the roommate’s high school friends and Twitter followers. This act of cyber-bullying was a great embarrassment to Tyler and two days later Tyler died by suicide. After processing the grief of losing their son in this way, Tyler’s parents decided to take proactive action and started the foundation to address cyber-bullying in the hopes that it can be stopped and future harm and even deaths could be avoided.

QUESTION 2: What is my own connection with the Tyler Clementi Foundation?

ANSWER: Last year, a friend of mine from Raleigh, NC, Sean Kosofsky, who is one of the brightest non-profit leaders in the country, was offered the job of being the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s first full time executive director. He returned to Raleigh in early September and helped host a reception with Tyler’s mother Jane Clementi. (See photo at top of blog.) Sean updated us on the latest programs of the foundation and Jane spoke passionately as a mother hoping to bring positive change to America’s cyber-community as a constructive way of dealing with her son’s death. Total Engagement Consulting is proud to have provided a corporate donation to the foundation’s work.

Tyler Clementi, the young man for whom the foundation is named

Tyler Clementi, the young man for whom the foundation is named

QUESTION 3: What exactly is this new program that the foundation will be rolling out via corporations?

ANSWER: Too much of the burden of ending bullying is put on schools. The Tyler Clementi Foundation thinks parents play a key role, and thus has partnered with Workplace Options (WPO) to offer trainings on youth bullying to parents where they are during the day: at work. This training helps educate people about whether the young people in their lives are being bullied or are bullies, and not sharing this information. The focus will be to teach individuals how to identify, approach, discuss and resolve youth bullying issues with their children, and young people in their personal lives. More information can be found on the foundation’s program page. (Scroll about halfway down the page to the heading “Workplace Options / TCF Training

QUESTION 4: Can I provide some links to additional blogs with resources I have previously published?

ANSWER: Certainly!

In last year’s Bullying Awareness Month’s blog, I introduced the Tyler Clementi Foundation.

In my 2013 blog, I wrote about the link between schoolyard bullying and workplace harassment.

In “The Macroeconomic of Gay Bullying” I write about the grave harm to a nation’s well being and economics unaddressed bullying can result in.

Some Princes Don’t Care Much For Princesses – So What’s the Big Deal?

The queen was quite concerned that all the other princes in their region were married, but her son Prince Bertie was not.

The queen was quite concerned that all the other princes in their region were married, but her son Prince Bertie was not.

Please see the several links to additional blogs and resources at the bottom of this short blog.

In the May 15th Raleigh News and Observer, front page, was a story (link) about third grade teacher, Mr. Omar Currie, who got into hot water for reading the book “King and King” by Dutch authors Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland to his third grade class in rural Efland, North Carolina. Mr. Currie read this delightful book to his class after a boy was being bullied in his classroom and the word “gay” was used in a negative sense. (NOTE: follow up newspaper article on the subsequent public hearing.)

This book is a classic fairy tale about Prince Bertie, who is single despite his mother’s wish that he find a princess to marry. After the queen issues an invitation to the world’s princesses to come meet her eligible bachelor prince son and Bertie meets a very diverse set of princesses from all corners of the globe, he finally (and bravely) declares to his mother, “I’ve never cared much for princesses.” Luckily, Prince Bertie meets Price Lee, and they fall in love and get married.

Good news!  Prince Bertie finally meet Prince Lee, they fall in love, get married and live happily ever after.

Good news! Prince Bertie finally meet Prince Lee, they fall in love, get married and live happily ever after.


Now a local resident who does not even have a child enrolled in the school with a few other local parents are raising a fuss about the “inappropriateness” of the book. So I ask, what is so inappropriate about reading one single children’s book that features a same-gender couple? Here are 3 important short points:

1. Same gender (or gay) marriage is now a reality in 21st century USA and in many countries around the world including Europe and Latin America. A majority of US states now have same-gender marriage and more than likely it will be a nationwide reality after the US Supreme Court issues a final ruling on this matter in late June. And even Mr. Currie states that several students in his school have two moms or two dads. Shouldn’t those families be included in stories as well as all others?

2. Schools must address bullying and foster diversity. When a girl is bullied for being a “tomboy”, or a boy is bullied for being a little feminine, or a child is bullied for being multi-racial, or has a disability, or two mommies or two daddies, the school must address it. Children need to be taught early and often that bullying is always wrong and that all people should be respected and valued.

Third grade teacher Omar Currie acknowledges applause in response to his impassioned speech at a community hearing. Photo: Harry Lynch, hlynch@newsobserver.com

Third grade teacher Omar Currie acknowledges applause in response to his impassioned speech at a community hearing. Photo: Harry Lynch, hlynch@newsobserver.com


3. Teaching about different ways of life does not diminish or detract from anyone! Mr. Currie estimates he reads 500 books in a typical school year to his class. So one book out of 500 features a same-gender couple. That in no way takes away from opposite gender couples or single parents families that may be portrayed in the other 499 books! People need to get over feeling threatened by people who are not exactly like them.

In closing, I would like to salute the enlightened teacher Mr. Omar Currie for doing the right thing in his class. Let’s all emulate Mr. Currie and support diversity of all kinds of families in our schools, business settings, churches and communities!

* * * * *

Additional blogs and resources:

Blog about LGBT bullying and hate speech.

Blog about a leading anti-bullying non-profit, the Tyler Clementi Foundation.

Connection to GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), resources for promoting equality and protection of all LGBT students in schools at all grade levels.

Blog with two scenarios of schoolyard bullying eventually impacting workplace harassment.

Blog about LGBT diversity and bullying in the sports world.

Website with resources on hate crimes.

Blog with link to an organization about being an ally to the LGBT community.

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