Harassment comes in many forms and bullying is a universal issue which has been a part of schools and workplaces. However, bullying by peers in school is very disconcerting for a parent.
A nine-year-old boy who admitted he wanted to kill himself after being bullied for his dwarfism has urged others to stand up for themselves.
Yarraka Bayles, from Brisbane, filmed her son Quaden crying in the car after she picked him up from school.
The schoolboy has the most common type of dwarfism called Achondroplasia. In the heart-wrenching video, the kid can be heard saying, “Give me a knife so I can kill myself. I just want to stab myself in the heart. I want someone to kill me.”
The video has been viewed more than 20 million times since it was posted, with Quaden receiving a massive outpouring of support from around the world.
Among them is Australian actor Hugh Jackman. He posted a video message to Twitter telling Bayles: “Quaden, you are stronger than you know, mate. And no matter what, you’ve got a friend in me.”
“Everyone, let’s just please be kind to each other. Bullying is not OK, period. Life is hard enough. Let’s just remember every person in front of us is facing the same kind of battle. So let’s just be kind,” he further added.
Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan also showed support to Quaden and said, “What I want you to know is that you have friends, me included. I am your buddy. You haven’t met me yet, but we’ll see if we can change that. Maybe your mom can DM me. You have a bunch of friends out here, out in the world that you haven’t met yet. We’re here, we got your back. You need to know that. It’ll get better.”
Quaden also has the support of the National Rugby League’s Indigenous All-Stars team. The youngster will lead the team out before Saturday’s NRL pre-season match against the Maori All-Stars in Queensland’s Gold Coast.
A Go-Fund Me page set up by US comedian Brad Williams has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars — and he’s using the money to send Bayles and his mother to Disneyland in California.
Bullying definitely impacts a child’s ability to learn, a child who is feeling isolated and not cared for is not happy. Schools need to acknowledge bullying as abuse and not dismiss it as a normal rite of childhood.
In my experience, kids love observing patterns in most things around them and the moment they spot a deviation they call it out. So, while why does grandpa have white hair and dad has black is a naïve query, calling someone short, fat or dark is absolutely not ok and it has to be conveyed from the beginning. Children should be encouraged to express and regulate their feelings. Adults in charge of children, at home and at schools, need to be very clear about what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour.
As adults, it is our responsibility to teach children about right and wrong, equality, inclusion and diversity and give them a positive climate to grow up.