Rocker Billy Ray Cyrus thanked First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday after she met with him and the family of a Tennessee teenager who had allegedly been cyberbullied. The group met at the White House on Monday.
“What an honor to sit [with] The First Lady at the White House,” tweeted Cyrus on Tuesday. “@FLOTUS Your sincerity was truly inspiring. You/your team were so engaged to Channing’s grieving father & brother & brought ideas/strategy to make the world a safer better place for the youth in America.”
The tweet was accompanied by the hashtag, #JusticeForChanning, in reference to 16-year-old Channing Smith, who reportedly committed suicide in September, after he discovered that sexually explicit text messages he had exchanged with another boy from school were posted on social media by his classmates.
After learning about Smith’s death, Cyrus had performed at a memorial service for the teenager in Manchester.
“Highlighting online safety is one of my #BeBest priorities,” tweeted Melania Trump. “Yesterday, [Billy Ray Cyrus] introduced me to the Smith family to hear about the tragic loss of their loved one from cyberbullying. Teaching positive online behaviors can ensure a safer future for our children.”
Trump had launched her “Be Best” initiative in May of last year, which she said would focus on “the many issues facing children today — one of them being the safe and responsible use of social media.”
The First Lady referred to social media as “an inevitable part of our children’s daily lives” that can be “destructive and harmful when used incorrectly.”
According to the Tennessean, the singer’s team facilitated the organizing of the White House meeting, which involved Cyrus, Channing’s brother Joshua Smith, and his father David Smith, who all sat with the First Lady for more than an hour.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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