Tyler Clementi was never the sort of boy who called attention to himself. His teachers remember him as quiet and private, a teen who would have been rightly horrified by the invasion of privacy perpetrated by his roommate, Dharun Ravi, and friend, Molly Wei, which eventually led to suicide after Ravi streamed a live sexual encounter between Clementi and another male to students online.
There’s an important lesson about cyber bullying here, and how a prank can escalate quickly into tragedy. But as a mom who can’t even imagine the horror the Clementis are going through, I think it’s important that we remember the boy himself: the potential lost in his death and the reminder that life is precious.
Clementi was a violin player, a gifted one. He was slated to perform with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra this weekend, and they’ve said they will keep his name on the program. Though withdrawn in most social situations, he blossomed on stage, even playing in the pit for a local production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.”
“He was a quiet person, but when he picked up his violin, it was a different story,” says Khullip Jeung, who taught Clementi violin for five years, in an interview with CBS News.
Clementi played violin at his family’s church on Sundays. He was passionate about music and received Ridgewood High School’s National School Orchestra Award this year.
Here’s hoping that he will be remembered for those passions as well, and not the ugly ignorance that led to his suicide.