Tyler Clementi’s Parents: Suicide Is Never The Answer

Reject Notion They Would Have Loved Son Less Because He Was Gay

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Tyler Clementi’s parents are now speaking out about their heartbreak and healing after their son’s death. They’re also searching for justice for the events that allegedly led to his suicide.

More than a year after Tyler’s unthinkable death, his parents, Joseph and Jane Clementi, said their pain is still very fresh.

“We’re just overly sad by the situation, and of course sadness and anger are very close emotions,” Jane Clementi said.

“We don’t know why Tyler committed suicide, we truly don’t,” Joseph Clementi added.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

On Sept. 22, 2010, Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge. It was just days after his intimate encounter with another man was allegedly secretly recorded by his college roommate, Dharun Ravi. The video was streamed over the Internet.

Tyler Clementi’s heartbroken parents struggled with their loss and have stayed relatively private until now, reports CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

“What we’re looking for is justice and accountability. It doesn’t have to be a harsh punishment — but acknowledgement of wrongdoing,” Jane Clementi said.

Tyler Clementi’s suicide came only days after he revealed to his parents that he was gay.

“I was watching TV in the living room and he pretty much just told me ‘mom, I’m gay’ and I was really, really surprised,” Jane Clementi said.

“I kind of get offended a little bit when someone would even make that assumption because of his sexuality that I wouldn’t love him just as much.”

Tyler Clementi’s parents have now created a foundation in their son’s name in an effort to prevent teen suicide, combat cyber bullying and to promote lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender acceptance.

“We set up the foundation because as grieving parents we realize that there’s no other feeling that’s worse than the loss of a child. And we don’t want parents to have to have the same kind of experience that we’ve had,” Joseph Clementi said.

Jane and Joseph Clementi said their road to healing is still long, but they hope Tyler did not die in vain, and that others will learn a life-saving lesson.

“People ought to be able to live their lives in peace and expect others to give them that peace,” Joseph Clementi said.

“Without judgment,” Jane added.

The Clementis said Tyler had reached out to a resident advisor at Rutgers for help, but university policy prohibited the RA from reaching out to his parents. The Clementis are hoping Rutgers will change that policy, so parents can stay involved if their children may need their guidance.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Michelle Smith

    I got bullied when I was a kid in school decades ago. I complained but I was told by the principal to ignore it. There were several bullies in my school. One bully was about my size. He hit me so I hit him back. I got blamed for fighting by the principal. My prior complaints didn’t matter. The bullying went on and on. I was lucky. I survived to live a rather long life. I feel bad when children commit suicide because school officials refuse to do anything. Often the bullied child is disciplined by the school for trying to defend themselves. It is true. The only time the schools care is after a child commits suicide due to the bullies. It is a little late then. Later the schools forget the suicides and the bullying continues. As a parent the most important thing is my child’s safety. This blog covers how a mother is dealing with a heartbreaking experience and how you can better protect your kids. This is the link: http://www.tsue-thatswhatshesaid.com/2011/08/your-childs-safety-your-piece-of-mind.html

  • DanTe

    why didn’t he just transfer to another school?

  • Jean

    Everyone assumes Tyler Clementi did away with himself because he was tortured by the fact that now people were going to find out he was gay. His parents already knew and I’m sure his friends did as well. I think his sexuality may have had nothing to do it. He was obviously a sensitive individual and for him, this incident was humiliating beyond the telling of it. All of us have been embarrassed at one time or another and facing those who witnessed it is extremely hard. Try facing an entire university the size of Rutgers and everyone on the internet who witnessed one of the most intimate moments of your life. He obviously couldn’t do it and I don’t know many who could just roll with it either.

  • GG

    In depth account of my second attempt and the impact it had on my family. Share your story also at http://bipolaratuva.blogspot.com

  • David Ruiffin

    Athough the roommate was a low life, insensitive, etc. and should be punished for it……I always assumed that there was some disfunction going on in the TC family – after all, considering all the more open minded people there are in 2011/2012 – all all the places TC could have lived, or even gone to college – think of the psychosis that must have existed in the mind of this young boy who saw no future anymore and decided to jump off the GW bridge as a solution – not excusing what the roommate did, but this was one seriously troubled victim, and his family have to live with that memory, and their part in raising him. God Bless them all. Very sad all around.

  • Dottie Gallardo

    My prayers go out to his parents.

  • ziippy magoo

    College is a time when you should feel secure in being who you are and finidng people who accept you. This evil roommate stole that possibility from TC and sealed his fate of feeling alone and different. Would it have been too much to expect for a roommate to be sympathetic, understanding and try to understand the man rather than make fun of him and denegrate his life. Obviously TC was struggling with who he is and at his most vulnerable he was discarded by this boy as trash to be ridiculed. He should have helped, not rejected. No excuse, it proves how the roommate planned to live the rest of his life, self centered and unempathectically. Not the kind of behavoir we need in society as whole. This story illustrates what is wrong in the world. People need to help people.

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