The Tyler Clementi Foundation launches the #Day1 campaign to reduce bullying and harassment

More than 3.2 million students are victims of bullying every year, and many of these students face emotional distress and physical pain as a result. In an effort to reduce this type of harassment, the Tyler Clementi Foundation launched the #Day1 campaign, which encourages those in leadership positions to let their employees, athletes, and students know from day 1 that bullying will not be tolerated.

The #Day1 campaign targets group environments including schools, universities, workplaces, and athletic programs, where bullying and discrimination is often a huge problem. The campaign encourages leaders in those environments, such as teachers, managers, coaches, youth, and employees to use their authority to tell a group of people what behavior is expected and what behavior is not tolerated.

The idea is that this declaration should happen early for the new students, employees, or athletes, preferably on Day 1. The Tyler Clementi Foundation believes that if it is known from the onset that teasing or bullying is not acceptable, it will be less likely to occur.

In addition, those that hear this declaration will give verbal confirmation that they understand the anti-bullying policy and have the option to sign a pledge card promising to be an Upstander. An Upstander is one who not only pledges not to be a bully of any kind, but also promises to intervene or report the abuse, should he or she be a bystander to the harassment.

Dr. Dorothy Espelage, who is one of the world's top anti-bullying researchers has endorsed the #Day1 project based on her prior research. "As a researcher that has spent 22 years of my career trying to understand and reduce bullying among youth, I have learned that a critical component of any school initiative to stop bullying has to include a transparent and direct statement from teachers, staff, and administrators," she said. "[Thus], the Tyler Clementi Foundation Day 1 campaign is exactly what every school should do to get all of the school members to commit to promoting a positive school climate that is respectful and free from negative interactions and behaviors."

Organizations that are interested in participating should click here to register to participate. Upon registering, leaders will be able to download an official script, which they are encouraged to read to individuals on their first day of school, work, the sports season, or any other group-oriented activity.

GLAAD applauds the Tyler Clementi Foundation for their work to reduce bullying. Be sure to check out their website for more information regarding the #Day1campaign and a "digital quilt" of anti-bullying stories from #Day1 leaders and participants coming soon!