Tyler Clementi’s parents open up about Rutgers freshman’s suicide in new interview

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“Never do a wrong thing to make a friend–or to keep one.” ~ Robert E. Lee

tyler
Jane Clementi, second from right, the mother of Tyler Clementi, holds onto the arms of Ronnie Kroell, left, and Elliot London, as they walk across the George Washington Bridge in honer of Tyler’s memory and to bring attention to bullying awareness in a 2014 file photo. (Robert Sciarrino | The Star-Ledger) (Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger)

Nearly five years after their son’s suicide, Tyler Clementi’s parents say they are not even close to “healed,” according to an interview scheduled to air Sunday.

tylerJane and Joe Clementi talked about the aftermath of the high-profile death of their son with reporter Erin Moriarty from “CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.”

Tyler jumped off the George Washington Bridge in 2010. A few days earlier Tyler learned his roommate at Rutgers University used a webcam to share video of the freshman in an intimate encounter with another man.

“Not even near healed,” Jane Clementi said in excerpts of the interview released Thursday by CBS. “I don’t know what ‘healed’ will be like. I don’t even know that there’s a word for healing. I think it’s learning to live through the pain.”

After Tyler’s suicide became a national story, the Clementi family started a foundation in his memory. The Tyler Clementi Foundation is focused on ending bullying.

The foundation is starting a new anti-bullying campaign, according to the CBS report. The “Day One” initiative will ask people to declare on the first day of school or work that they will never treat others differently because of their faith, sex, dress or looks.

In their interview, the Clementis talk about what they should have done differently when Tyler revealed to his parents that he was gay.

images (1)“I think a lot of parents hide,” Jane Clementi said, according to the interview excerpt. “And they don’t talk about their gay children. And they don’t share what’s happening in their gay children’s lives. And, I know when Tyler told me he was gay, what I really wanted was a person of faith, another Christian mom, to go and talk to. But, you know, no one in my faith community ever talked about having a gay child. No one had a gay relative – there was no ‘gay’ in our church.”

The family said they have not planned what they will do on Sept. 22, the fifth anniversary of Tyler’s death. But, they continue to talk about the lessons learned from their experience.

“Don’t underestimate what your child is going through,” Joe Clementi, Tyler’s father, said in the interview. “Even though you may not think it’s a big deal, they may think it’s the end of the world.”

reminder-smiley-faceThe interview airs Sunday at 9 a.m.
Article posted By Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com on June 04, 2015

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