The New York State Court of Appeals’ decision on the cyberbullying law took many cyberbullying victims and their families as a surprise: including Tyler Clementi’s parents, Jane and Joseph Clementi.
Tyler Clementi was a freshman at Rutgers University who took his life after realizing that his roommate secretly taped his encounter with another man with a webcam. His suicide has led to a nationwide outrage, and inspired many awareness campaigns for cyberbullying.
In a statement released yesterday, Clementi’s parents stated that they identify with the dissenting opinion, which argued that limiting the law to a focus on children and deleting vague terms would keep its intent and constitutionality intact.
“In our work against cyberbullying, we are seeing the great pain and permanent emotional harm that cyberbullying causes children,” the Clementis stated in response to the decision. “This is why we strongly support legislation and legal action aimed at eliminating cyber aggression aimed at young people — the most vulnerable in the online space.”
Albany County lawmakers have said that they are working to rewrite an updated version of the cyberbullying law in accordance with the ruling.