Jennifer Cecilione – Staff Writer

Shooting. Stabbing. Bombing. All obvious causes of death. But what about bullying? Many often think of bullying as just poking fun at someone or fooling around. This is not always the case. In severe situations, such as Tyler Clementi’s, bullying meant death.

Clementi was a freshman at Rutgers University. He was also gay. On September 19, Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, posted on his Twitter that Clementi was having sex with another man in their dorm room. Ravi and fellow Rutgers freshman, Molly Wei, allegedly videotaped Clementi’s sexual encounter and posted it on Twitter for Ravi’s followers to view. Three days after Clementi discovered the video, he posted on his Facebook, “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” That day, Clementi leapt off of the George Washington Bridge to his death. He was only 18 years old.

Monmouth senior Kelly Gnadinger has had enough. She said, “This was a horrible thing. It was tragic. People should stop bullying others.”

Ravi and Wei were each charged with two counts of invasion of privacy, but could face even greater punishment. If convicted of these charges, they could spend up to five years in prison. According to ABC News, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said that there may be the possibility of Wei and Ravi being charged with a hate crime, a more serious offense.      Under New Jersey law, hate crimes are categorized as crimes committed with the intent to “intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.”

Clementi is not the first gay male to commit suicide. Within the week that Clementi killed himself, three other gay boys did the same. All of these boys experienced harassment because of their sexual orientation. The youngest of these boys was Seth Walsh. He was 13 years old.

Openly-gay talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres said in a video posted to her website on October 1 that the recent suicides are a “wake up call to everyone” and that “bullying and teasing is an epidemic…four lives lost is a tragedy.” According to, New Jersey state lawmakers have been trying to pass the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” for the past few years. This law would require new teachers to complete a bullying training seminar, require superintendents to produce a report describing their school’s encounters with harassment, punish school administrators who do not investigate bullying accusations, and make it possible to suspend or even expel students on the grounds of bullying. 

“It saddens me that gay youth feel they have no where to go,” said Mrs. Mitchell who started the Gay-Straight Alliance at MRHS. Mitchell holds GSA meetings once a week in room 510. The sign outside of Mitchell’s door reads, “People who think they are different can come here to feel they are the same.”

 According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, gay male children are about two and a half times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. Junior Aarti Aggarwal said, “I think people are more likely to bully gay kids because people always bully those who are different from them.”

Dan Savage, a relationship advice columnist, created the “It Gets Better” YouTube project to reach out to gay teens. “It Gets Better” is a collection of videos posted by celebrities urging gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children to hang on for better days and not to end their lives prematurely. The message is that being gay gets better after the high school experience. The recent suicides forced even celebrity gossip expert, Perez Hilton, who is accustomed to trash-talking celebrities on his blog, to rethink his bullying ways. October 15, on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Hilton said, “I’m going to do things differently…I’m not going to call people nasty nicknames.” For his “It Gets Better” video, Hilton told his story of growing up attending a Catholic boy’s school and being ridiculed by his classmates and his teachers. He also said that as you grow up, you become more secure with yourself and everything really does get better.