Think before you hit send: Emotional plea by Tyler Clementi’s mom and dad
The mother and father of Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers University student who took his own life in 2010 after his roommate captured him on camera during an intimate gay encounter in their dorm room, have a message for the world.
Think before you text.
Think before you say something.
"Does it encourage and build someone up or does it destroy and harm another person?" Jane and Joe Clementi said Friday after a state appellate panel threw out the 2012 conviction of Tyler's roommate, Dharun Ravi, who had been found guilty of bias intimidation in the webcam incident.
Their entire statement is posted below.
Ravi was never charged with contributing to Clementi's death.
The convictions were expected to fall after the state Supreme Court last year ruled that it was unconstitutional for the state's bias crime law to rely on a victim's state of mind in determining a defendant's guilt. The appellate division tossed all the other convictions against Ravi because judges feared the jury had been tainted by the evidence.
The decision calls for a new trial. But Ravi already served his sentence of 30 days in county jail and probation.
Clementi's family started the Tyler Clementi Foundation in 2011 to raise awareness about bullying of marginalized young people.
Here is the couple's entire statement released after the decision:
Joe and I are not legal experts so we cannot interpret the law. All we can do is try to understand and deal with are the facts as we know them now.
We know that Tyler’s private moments were stolen from him and used to humiliate him. His life was forever affected and the lives of those who knew and loved him have been forever changed.
In light of today's decision, we will do what we encourage all people to do before they push that send button, and that is to pause and consider the implications of their message. Does it encourage and build someone up or does it destroy and harm another person?
Our world moves very fast which pushes us to be impulsively spontaneous and sometimes harsh.
Today's decision shows us how much more work there is to be done, and will push us forward with stronger determination to create a kinder more empathic society where every person is valued and respected. We will continue to work even harder sharing Tyler’s story through the Tyler Clementi Foundation and our many partners.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.