A mom’s post of her brave son speaking out against bullying has gone viral. More than 21 million people have watched the video of Keaton Jones weeping and is shaking as he describes the horror he faces at school in the midst of bullying. I admire his courage and strength. I appreciate the outpouring of support to him and his family. I am also left wondering what else can be done?
Here is the post from Everything Tennessee that I saw.
This is Keaton Jones, he lives in Knoxville and he has a little something to say about bullying.pic.twitter.com/coyQxFp33V
— Everything TN (@Everything_TN) December 9, 2017
My first reaction is to be angry at the kids bullying him or maybe even the school for not doing more to protect him. As I thought about it more though I realized that Keaton represents many more people in various situations who face this kind of treatment everyday.
I hope Keaton continues to be rewarded for his bravery, but I hope things do not stop there. One of my favorite gestures is from Chris Evans, aka Captain America, who invited Keaton and his family out to the premiere of the Avengers movie in Los Angeles.
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
I hope the #StandwithKeaton movement continues to gain strength. I also hope it sheds light on the bigger picture of bullying. I hope others step up for their friends and stand up for those who can’t speak for themselves. I hope we realize that it is all of our responsibility, not just school administrators, to make sure children can learn in safe environments of mutual respect. I hope that we realize that bullying takes all kinds of forms throughout life and silence gives bullies more power than anything else.
So back to my original question. What else can be done? We can do more by breaking the silence and starting conversations. Ask your kids about bullying. You don’t have to know what to do. Just talk to them. Realize that in the case of children that a bully may be a victim themselves. Speak out against bullying of all kinds. No more college students need to die in pointless initiations. Harassment and abuse in all forms can be stopped when brave people speak up.
Some people wonder why victims in these situations don’t say something more often? Why do they sometimes wait so long to speak out? I have seen people react online by saying that kids just need to “toughen up” when bullied. I get why some would wonder that but that also misunderstands the conditions that create abuse, harassment, and bullying. These things happen when there is an imbalance of perceived power. Often times the victims feel powerless to defend themselves and hopeless that anyone else will help and can even feel the mistreatment is their fault.
What can you do? Support those who speak out. Speak out yourself. Don’t blame others. Find a way to take a small amount of responsibility in your own life for these types of situations.
I know this isn’t a normal blog for me. It is still kind of fresh and raw, but this video of Keaton hit me hard. Proud of you Keaton. And I am proud of anyone who finds the strength to stand up to the bullies in their lives. I pray you also find the peace and forgiveness that come through Christ.