A young boy’s tearful account of being bullied at school has garnered widespread applause for his anti-bullying message.
Kimberly Jones posted the video of her son, Keaton, on Facebook on Friday after school. She said she had just picked Keaton up from the Tennessee middle school he attends, because he was too afraid to go to lunch as a result of bullying.
In the video, Keaton is crying in the passenger seat and describes having milk poured on him and ham put down his clothes and being called ugly for the head scars left from a tumor operation.
“They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends,” Keaton tells his mother.
After telling his story, he asks his mother, “Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It’s not okay. People that are different don’t need to be criticized about it. It’s not their fault.”
His words have resonated with people and the video “exploded” over the weekend, amassing millions of views and attention from Tennessee football teams and big name celebrities, among them Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato and Mark Hamill.
“Stay strong, Keaton,” tweeted Chris Evans. “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?
“Little buddy,” wrote Ruffalo, “I was bullied when I was a kid. You are right #ItGetsBetter! You are my own personal super hero. Protect Yo Heart. You got a pal in the Hulk.”
“You got a friend in me Lil bro! Hit me on dm and we can chat!!! Love you buddy!!” tweeted Justin Bieber.
Demi Lovato wrote, “I #StandwithKeaton. Keaton baby, just know you’re not alone. There are so many people who come out of bullying so much stronger and you will be one of them!! God bless you sweetheart.”
Mark Hamill tweeted, “Keaton-Don’t waste time wondering why a bully would be so mean-They’re sad people who think hurting others will make them feel better because they really don’t like themselves-They’re just jealous because you’re so smart & handsome.”
All the attention is surprising and delighting Keaton. “Keaton is thrilled to hear from everyone,” a friend of the family told People magazine. “It really means a lot to him.”
With all the attention, Kimberley clarified the circumstances around the 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,” she said. “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.”
In subsequent reports, the principal of Keaton’s school spoke with the Knoxville News Sentinal. “It’s not as rampant as the video would have you believe,” Principal Greg Clay told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “I can’t tell you what was done, but I can tell you action was taken with the children.”
Nevertheless, Keaton’s message has become a good opportunity to discuss bullying and spread an anti-bullying message. Kimberly encourages parents to reach out to their children and talk about it.
“Talk to your kids, she wrote. “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.”
Watch Keaton’s video below and share it with your friends.