Bullying is, and always has been, a worldwide issue that has never been conquered. There have been efforts across the world, through the use of charities and now, social media, all to no avail.
With myself previously being a victim to bullies, I find myself relating to these many stories of bullying that have gone viral on the internet. But a particular story recently caught my eye.
Last week brought the world’s attention to Keaton Jones, a young boy from Knoxville, Tennessee. His mother uploaded a video via social media of Keaton tearfully telling the camera what he puts up with at school thanks to bullies.
“Why do you bully?” he asks the camera. “Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It’s not okay.”
As Keaton gets steadily more emotional throughout the video, he explains how the bullies at his school made fun of his nose, called him ugly, said he had no friends and even poured milk over him at lunch.
Quite frankly, the video is hard to watch. Seeing this young boy have his confidence crushed from the actions of his careless and vicious peers is heartbreaking and, sadly, relatable.
Like millions of other youngsters across the world, I found myself a victim to bullies briefly during my time at high school. Twelve-year-old I was the perfect target for bullies: I was a lot smaller than my peers, I was quiet and I worked hard.
I would get tormented in the corridors for being “ugly,” for being a “nerd,” all of which eventually lead to threats. This resulted in me feeling absolutely petrified to get on the school bus every morning and walk through them gates.
Unlike many, however, I was lucky enough to only experience this misery for a year of my school life. Many experience this nightmare throughout their entire childhood and adolescence, leaving them feeling terrified and belittled on a daily basis, which Keaton Jones summed up perfectly in his video.
His video sparked an incredible response, attracting thousands of supporters from across the globe, including the likes of such celebrities as Millie Bobbie Brown, Snoop Dog and even Justin Bieber – for once he’s not under my radar of hatred.
However, the limelight has been turned upon his mother, Ms Jones. Several people have accused Ms Jones of racism after spotting evidence of racist behaviour on her Facebook account: a photo of herself and other family members standing by a Confederate flag.
The main issue has been pushed into the corner after this allegation was put forward. Keaton was simply expressing his exhaustion and sadness over the ordeals he endures every day at school, which is what millions of children and teenagers still go through today. The issue of Ms. Jones and her suspicious racism should be kept completely separate from Keaton’s message, and should be dealt with in a private manner away from social media – or at least with no relevance at all to the attention upon her son.
I am sadly not sure what it will possibly take to put a final end to bullying. Some people, as I learnt during my time at school, simply don’t care. They find it amusing to belittle others and cause physical and emotional pain.
Biologically, t’s often a sign of dominance, a way to make it to the top of the food chain. But I am hoping that bullies who have seen this video, whilst putting aside the stories of Ms Jones and the racism accusations, can truly see the impact of their childish actions.
As a grown woman looking back on my time in school, it is all fuelled by immature and silly behaviour. In the long run, bullies have only made me stronger as the person I am today. It will get easier, and those who get through those hard times are truly inspirational.
They will certainly make something amazing out of their lives, unlike the ones who made their lives a living hell for a short period of time.