Sen. Lautenberg Introduces College Anti-Bullying Law

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    Tyler Clementi

    U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has introduced legislation requiring colleges to adopt a code of conduct that prohibits bullying and harassment.

      The "Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act" is named for the 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who committed suicide in September after his gay sexual encounter in his dorm room was broadcast online.
     
    "While there is no way to eliminate the cruelty that some students choose to inflict on their peers, there should be a clear code of conduct that prohibits harassment," Lautenberg said. "It is vitally important that all students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and secure environment."
     
    The measure introduced Thursday would require colleges and universities that get federal money to adopt policies that prohibit harassment based on a student's sexual orientation, race, gender and other factors.
     
    It also would provide funding for schools to establish or expand programs to prevent harassment of students.
     
    Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., introduced identical legislation in the House of Representatives.
     
    Clementi had been a student at Rutgers for just a few weeks when he jumped into the Hudson River from the George Washington Bridge in September. In the days before his death, authorities say his roommate and another student watched his encounter with an unidentified man.
     
    Clementi's death came on the heels of a spate of gay teenagers nationwide killing themselves after being bullied.
     
    In a statement issued Thursday, Clementi's family said it consented to using his name in connection with the bill when Lautenberg sought their permission.
     
    "The family appreciates the courtesy extended to them during the drafting of the bill, and hopes that the legislation, if enacted, will improve the well-being and safety of America's college students," the statement said.
     
    "The Clementi family is humbled and gratified that the loss of their son, however painful for them, has inspired nationwide discussion and awareness of the need for a renewal of values of respect for human dignity and personal privacy, particularly for young people in this time of rapidly evolving technology."