Keaton Jones is a boy from Tennessee with a message. And it’s one that every child, parent, teacher and human being needs to hear.
Please, if you haven’t seen it already, take two minutes of your time to listen to what Keaton has to say. It may be the incentive we need to talk to our kids about bullying and to ensure no child is made to feel like this again.
Like many kids, Keaton Jones is bullied at school. Kids call him ugly. They tell him he has no friends. They pour milk over his head and throw bread at him.
Like many kids Keaton is left feeling confused, scared, alone and unsure of what to do.
But, unlike most kids, Keaton has decided to speak out. From the front seat of his mother’s car, Keaton’s tear-streaked face and meaningful message proves just how awful bullying can be. And just how important it is that this type of behaviour stops.
‘It’s not okay’
After Keaton’s mum, Kimberly, picked her son up from school early, Keaton requested that she film him. With tears in his eyes, Keaton turns to his mother to explain what has been happening at school.
Kimberly posted the video to her Facebook page on Friday, with this message: “For the record, Keaton asked to do this AFTER he had he me pick him up AGAIN because he was afraid to go to lunch.
We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere.”
We will warn you now that it is quite an emotionally-charged video.
For the record, Keaton asked to do this AFTER he had he me pick him up AGAIN because he was afraid to go to lunch. My kids are by no stretch perfect, & at home, he's as all boy as they come, but by all accounts he's good at school. Talk to your kids. I've even had friends of mine tell me they're kids were only nice to him to get him to mess with people. We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere.
Posted by Kimberly Jones on Friday, December 8, 2017
As Keaton explains, “They make fun of my nose, they call me ugly. They say I have no friends.”
Kids pour milk over his head. They put ham down his pants. They throw bread at him during lunch. It’s heartbreaking, yes, but, as Keaton reminds us, it’s happening to kids everywhere. And it’s absolutely pointless.
“Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it? I don’t like that they do it to me. And I, for sure, don’t like that they do it to other people, cause it’s not okay!
“People who are different don’t need to be criticised about it. It’s not their fault.”
Support pours in for Keaton
The response to the video has been overwhelming. With close to 400,000 shares and 20 million views in just a few days, Keaton’s powerful message is clearly hitting home with people around the world from all walks of life.
Celebrities, from Katy Perry to Ricky Martin, have even reached out to him through Twitter, offering to be his mate and calling out those bullies.
Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year? https://t.co/s1QwCQ3toi
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 10, 2017
Keaton has received invites to UFC fights, basketball games, baseball games, even The Avengers premiere by Captain America himself, Chris Evans.
Of course, Keaton didn’t do this for fame. He didn’t expect his video to go viral or to trend on Twitter. He did this to shed light on a shitty situation, one that countless kids are in. And to ask those bullies, and society in general, why?
“Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It’s not okay.”
No, it’s really not. We commend Keaton on being brave enough to speak out and share his story. It got the world talking, tweeting and (hopefully) taking action to put a stop to bullying.
If you need a reminder about how devastating the consequences of bullying can be, read our article about Libby Bell, the 13-year-old Adelaide girl who killed herself after bullies made her life hell.
And if you suspect your child is being bullied, contact the National Centre Against Bullying.