If you haven’t seen it by now, the video of a young boy named Keaton Jones from Knoxville, Tennessee is alarmingly troubling. Jones, visibly shaken, describes how he was single-handedly bullied with children making fun of his nose and pouring milk on him. The boy asked why people enjoy being bullies and stripping people of joy, providing the raw truth of what bullying in schools does to children. In her Facebook post, his mother described how she had to pull Keaton from school because he was afraid, and that he asked her to make this video.
In response, Keaton has gone viral. And the response and support has been heart warming. That includes Tennessee Titans players offering him to come to a game and stars like Chris Evans asking Keaton if he wants to go to the Avengers movie premiere. Keaton has been shown the love, respect, and compassion that he desperately missed when that video was made.
What is more alarming though is the issue this incident brings to public attention: bullying. According to stopbullying.gov,
- 28% of students from grades 6th-12th have been bullied (9% online)
- Over 40% of students bullied have experienced frequent bullying.
- 70% of students have witnessed bullying occur.
Bullying is a major issue in the U.S. education system. Countless students experience what Keaton experienced, or even worse. And we don’t see it on video. And while shows like 13 Reasons Why are created to remind us of the issue, it still doesn’t change the fact that bullying continues to be a massive problem.
Bullying is proven to lead to things like depression and substance abuse, so not only does it have an immediate impact on the victim, but it can be devastating in the long run as well. And that is why it is essential for this country to take affirmative action and curb the bullying epidemic we face.
But how? A bully begins to bully for a lot of different reasons including: social issues, issues at home, institutional causes, etc. So it is essential for us to identify why in a case to case basis. And while schools, legislators, social workers, and educators across the country have done tremendous work to make strives in this area, even one bully is one too many. We need to allocate ALL of our resources to stop bullying.
At the end of the day, children need schooling. But what does it say about this country if we cannot ensure a child’s piece of mind when they go to school? School is a place to grow and learn and we need to make sure that is true for every student.
So it is heartwarming to see Keaton Jones get his happy ending. But at the end of this day he should have never even been put in that situation to begin with. If we can learn anything from this, we still have a long way to go to put a stop to bullying in this country.