“They make fun of my nose, they call me ugly, they say I have no friends. The poured milk on me and put ham down my clothes – people that are different don’t deserve to be criticised about it. It’s not their fault.”
“Just out of curiosity, why do they bully, what’s the point of it? Why do they enjoy taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them. It’s not OK. If you are made fun of, don’t let it bother you. It sucks, it’s hard, but it’ll probably get better one day.”
These were the compassionate words young Keaton Jones choked out through tears in a video taken by his mother Kimberley, after she was called to pick up her son from school. He was too scared to be out in the playground at lunch time for fear he would be targeted by bullies.
The video, which at the time of writing has been shared over 400,000 times, is truly heartbreaking.
“My kids are by no stretch perfect, and at home he’s as all boy as they come, but by all accounts he’s good at school. Talk to your kids. We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere,” Kimberley wrote alongside her son’s plea.
Sadly, children, and adults even, are bullied everyday. But something about Keaton and his concern for other kids suffering at the hands of bullying struck a chord with the world, including some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
From The Avengers stars, Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo, to the likes of Demi Lovato, Katy Perry and Eva Longoria, thousands of people have sent messages of support Keaton through the viral hashtag, #StandwithKeaton.
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) 10 December 2017
Keaton, will you’ve my guest at the Premiere of #InfinityWar too? I think you are about one of the coolest kids I have ever seen! Can’t wait to meet you in person, pal. Forget those ignorant kids. One day, very soon, they are going to feel pretty stupid for this. https://t.co/BqJLxu25GN
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) 11 December 2017
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❤️Your friend-mh https://t.co/SUMw3OoCTm
— @HamillHimself (@HamillHimself) 10 December 2017
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) 10 December 2017
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. https://t.co/LdCAy2lDHu
— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) 11 December 2017
— Maddie Ziegler (@maddieziegler) 11 December 2017
Keaton, this is so accurate. Why do people do this? I think your sooo cool Keaton! I wanna be your friend ( but srsly) ur freakin awesome ❤️ https://t.co/LD7Q762bL9
— Millie Bobby Brown (@milliebbrown) 9 December 2017
We hear you #KeatonJones. I was bullied constantly growing up. And could never have put into words what you have. It does get better. And it gets better because of who are and what you know and how you share it with all of us. Thank you for your courage. https://t.co/P4cCQtkAnB
— Patrick J Adams (@halfadams) 9 December 2017
— Hailee Steinfeld (@HaileeSteinfeld) 10 December 2017
I love this boy and I’ve never met him. You are brave and beautiful just as you are, don’t ever let others define who you are. Bullies are insecure and ignorant. Words create emotional poison, don’t listen to them so that poison doesn’t ever get to your pure heart ❤️ pic.twitter.com/SjntR2Pksk
— Eva Longoria Baston (@EvaLongoria) 10 December 2017
Keaton, I’m sorry those kids are being so mean. Unless people like that change they will end up having unhappy lives. I think you’re cool!
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) 9 December 2017
Oh sweet boy. We see you. You are not alone. https://t.co/splq8LEMFR
— Idina Menzel (@idinamenzel) 10 December 2017
Closer to home, Australian children’s charity, The Alannah & Madeline Foundation released a short statement, urging parents to make sure we teach our children to be kind to one another.
— Alannah Madeline Fdn (@alannahmadeline) 11 December 2017
Keaton’s sister, Lakyn has responded to the overwhelming amount of support for Keaton, saying he’s doing well.
The Support is overwhelmingly! He is doing good and loving the awareness his video! #StandWithKeaton
— Lakyn ???? (@Lakyn_Jones) 10 December 2017
Apologizes again to those tweets I can’t get to. My mentions are flooded and I’m trying my best. We thank everyone for the love and support
— Lakyn ???? (@Lakyn_Jones) 10 December 2017
Knowing he’s not alone will no doubt help give Keaton the strength to continue being the kindhearted, strong young boy he is. But we owe it to every child out there who is eating lunch alone, too afraid to be themselves or trawling through negative comments about themselves online, to draw a hard line in the sand when it comes to bullying.
As Keaton put it, “It’s not OK”.
LISTEN: This Glorious Mess discuss whether we should ban games like ‘Pinch and a Punch’ in schools…