Our experiences growing up with bullying affected us in some challenging ways, but it also motivated us to work hard to prevent others from living through what we experienced. While resources weren't available then, it gives us relief and joy to see them available today.
Unfortunately, as I begin college, I haven't had my last experience with bullying. When most people think of bullying they think of physical brutality or mean girls spreading rumors -- both of which have happened to me. The reality is that bullying comes in many forms and sometimes happens when and where we least expect it.
Can you remember the schoolyard jingle that went, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? Obviously that was not and is not the truth.
Real transformation within families, groups of friends, communities, corporations, institutions, governments, and communities of faith is an inside job. Change is found in the smallest choices we make every day about how we treat each other.
How do we protect our child when they are among the one in five youth who has been victimized? What if our child is one of hundreds of involuntary bystanders to a cyberbullying situation? What if our child is among the one in 10 teens who admits to harming others online or one the countless others who does so without realizing it?
I have always prided myself on being the optimistic sort, confident that there is no challenge that can't be met in some way. I've always felt that nothing is impossible. But I have to confess that it is hard -- damn hard -- to feel hopeful about the bullying epidemic in this nation, not when it continues to take kids lives.
Each child is different and each child is precious and -- at the risk of repeating an oft-used phrase, "even one case is one too many."
Faced with a bullying problem, schools will often reach for the latest anti-bullying program that promises to work, without considering the crucial question -- "will this program work for our school?"
In recognition of National Coming Out Day, I joined my mother and father, Jane and Joseph Clementi, in a conversation with LGBT rights activist Mitchell Gold to get to the heart of why coming out matters and how we can support young people as they go through this process.
As we come up to the one year anniversary of cyberbullying victim Amanda Todd's death, it becomes glaringly obvious that the impact of cyberbullying is not waning.
On October 7, 2013, Jesse posted on his Facebook page a sweet picture of him and Dirk. They are romantically kissing in gym clothes. The post received thousands of "likes." Sadly, amongst the appreciative comments, there were messages inciting violence.
Coach Burns' attention meant a lot to me, but he was generous with that attention and shared it with all the kids in that school, regardless of who they were, where they came from or where they were going. His affection for everyone was contagious.
As pitches from parental-control companies go it was pretty mild. I've seen others spout frightening statistics that would scare the heck out of any parent, with phony data about online sexual predators or the looming threat of bullying and cyberbullying-induced suicide.
I loved learning, was a good student, and had the privilege (and I mean privilege) of a great education. But it was what I learned after my formal education that made me the person I am today.
Before the advent of social media networks, cell phones and unlimited text plans, young people who were bullied in school could count on hours spent at home as a respite from ridicule. Today, kids are connected to each other 24/7/365.
These groundbreaking anti-bullying trainings, called "LGBTQ on Campus" for both students and staff in higher education, help more people build the skills they need to create safe higher education environments and improve outcomes for vulnerable students.