TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, (all D-Bergen), today released the following joint statement on the death of 18-year-old Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who reportedly jumped from the George Washington Bridge to his death after an encounter with another man was allegedly video taped by his roommate and broadcast live on the Internet:
“The loss of this young life is devastating. Our hearts break for the family and friends of Mr. Clementi, whose life was cut short because of a senseless and heartless act by his peers.
“We will withhold judgment of the accused, whose fate is now in the hands of our justice system. We are confident they will be held accountable for the actions that led to this tragic loss of life.
“But this terrible tragedy demonstrates a bigger problem. Despite anti-bullying laws and efforts to teach children tolerance and acceptance, unprovoked acts of cruelty continue to take place, resulting in tragic deaths of youngsters across our country.
“We must do more. In the days ahead, we will revisit our bullying and anti-harassment laws to ensure that we are doing everything we can to educate our students, and to make sure kids recognize the serious nature of harassment.
“That a young person could be so distressed that he could be driven to suicide demonstrates that we must do more to teach children from a very young age that this kind of act toward another human being is unacceptable. We have to teach our children to have respect for our differences, whether they are racial, ethnic, religious or gender-based. But we have to start with ourselves in order to achieve real change.”