Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Student’s Death Sparks Anti-Bullying Legislation in New Jersey

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) speaks at Rutgers Forum Wednesday

New Brunswick, New Jersey – Frank Lautenberg, a Democratic United States Senator from New Jersey, told a forum at Rutgers University on Wednesday that he will introduce anti-bullying legislation to protect vulnerable people, such as LGBTQ youth.  Since gay Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge last month , a broad national discussion has arisen  around the nation about LGBTQ teen suicide and the role school and university bullying play in it.  Clementi, 18, a gifted young violinist who came to Rutgers to join its famed student orchestra, killed himself because he was outed by his roommate on the internet for a gay tryst in their dorm room.  His roommate, Dharun Ravi, 18, of Plainsboro, New Jersey, planted a hidden webcam in the room and switched it on to capture live-stream images of Clementi “making out” with another young man on September 22.  Another freshman, Molly Wei, also 18 and hailing from Princeton, NJ, participated in the cyber voyeurism.  Sources say that Ravi attempted to broadcast another evening of lovemaking on the web the following night.  Ravi and Wei face invasion of privacy charges that would result in five years in prison for each student, if proven guilty.  Wei’s attorneys have filed a “not guilty” plea to the charges, and have recently sent sympathy messages to Clementi’s family.  Senator Lautenberg announced to the crowd of 300 at the Wednesday forum that he would introduce a statute to “fix the problem” of harassment and bullying in schools and colleges.  In a press release from his office, Senator Lautenberg said, “The suicide of Tyler Clementi is a tragic reminder that college dormitories, dining halls and classrooms are not always safe places for students. We need to increase efforts that ensure all students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and secure environment. My legislation will fill a void in federal law and for the first time require colleges to establish plans to protect their students from harassment and bullying.” The proposed legislation would require schools and universities receiving federal money to adhere to a code of conduct prohibiting harassment and bullying, and to establish clear and orderly procedures to respond to allegations of this type of behavior. Such policies are not currently required by federal law, according to the New Jersey Democrat. The bill also would provide funding for schools to establish programs to deter harassment of students. “If you can’t be safe on a college campus, it’s an outrageous, outrageous condition,” Senator Lautenberg said, according to My Central Jersey.  The audience also heard from victims of bullying in the schools, and their parents.  Yahoo News reports that the Clementi family has been quiet throughout this ordeal.  In the one statement they have publicly made, Tyler’s father said they hoped their son’s death would “serve as a call for compassion, empathy and human dignity.”

October 7, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Asian Americans, Bullying in schools, cyber voyeurism, gay teens, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, New Jersey, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, Rutgers University, Social Justice Advocacy, U.S. Senate | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay Student’s Death Sparks Anti-Bullying Legislation in New Jersey

   

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