Justice for Tyler Clementi?

Carrie Schmelkin : Gossip from the Hallways
Carrie Schmelkin
Web Editor, TMC

Justice for Tyler Clementi?

Tyler Clementi’s tragic death in September of 2010 served not only as a reminder to us of how quickly our children can become the subject of ridicule and cruelty, but also how the rise of cyberbullying and the immediacy of the Internet have made the days of schoolyard bullying pale in comparison to the horror that bullying is now.

Today, almost a year and a half after the day that Tyler took his own life when he found that he was at the center of Internet cyberbullying – and after months in which anti-bullying nonprofits have surged, school assemblies have charged forward at full force, and school counselors have flooded the hallways –the trial of Dharun Ravi, the 19-year-old who allegedly taped Tyler having an intimate moment with another man and made that video go viral, is commencing.

In fact, reports say that by the end of today, a jury may soon be selected in the trial of Ravi, a former Rutgers student. Today, Judge Glenn Berman called 35 potential jurors into the courtroom and asked each a series of questions about how much they know about the case, whether they were biased and how familiar they were with Rutgers University. While Ravi is not charged with Tyler’s death, he is charged with bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and other counts.  The trial is expected to take three to four weeks and the prosecution is presenting 23 witnesses. The case will be broadcast on TruTV.

While I can imagine that watching this trial will be hard to stomach for many – from those that knew Tyler to those that are bullied themselves to those that feel as though they know a different side of Ravi – it is imperative for anyone who can to take a few minutes out of their day to see how one person’s actions can destroy two lives – the person he/she hurt and his/her own life. Most of us have read enough in People magazine or seen enough ABC news specials to know that what happened with Tyler was terrible. In fact, many will argue that Tyler’s untimely death perhaps showed us once and for all just how scary the Internet can be and how helpless our kids can become in the face of the Internet.

So, take a few minutes to watch the trial or read about what happens afterwards. And let Tyler’s death be a constant reminder to all of us that the perils of the Internet are in fact very real and not subsiding any time soon.  


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