Melania Trump pushed her “Be Best” initiative and expressed the urgency to combat cyber-bullying during a lunch with governor’s spouses on Monday. “I know the many issues associated with online safety will be hard to stop, but there is a need now more than ever to teach our children healthy behavior to secure a safer future for all of them” said the first lady.
She shared the touching story of a 16-year-old high school junior, Channing Smith, who committed suicide in September 2019 after his classmates outed him as gay by spreading intimate messages between him and a boy on social media. “He was so ashamed and felt so hopeless that Channing committed suicide” Trump said. “Since their tragic loss, the Smith family has been using their grief to partner with influencers such as Billy Ray Cyrus to educate people about the dangers of cyberassault.”
First Lady Melania Trump visits Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital & pushes her ‘Be Best’ initiative pic.twitter.com/Y1kRYcREcg
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She urged the governors’ spouses to “consider addressing this issue in your own home states so that no family will have to suffer from a loss like the Smiths.” She also asked them to “promote values of encouragement, kindness, compassion, and respect.”
Online safety is one of three components of the first lady’s “Be Best” youth initiative. Time reported that “Mrs. Trump in the past has said she is mindful that people are skeptical of her focus on online bullying because of her husband’s behavior. But she has said she won’t be deterred from her goal of helping children and the next generation.”