Quaden Bayles, nine, achieved worldwide attention in a viral video after being bullied over his dwarfism in kindergarten. Disability advocate Stephanie Gotlib writes it is the attitudes and actions of our community that perpetuate this discrimination, abuse, and low expectations experienced by children with disabilities. Quaden Bayles, a nine-year-old boy from Australia with dwarfism had the attention of the world last week when his mother posted a video of him crying over bullies at school.
Quaden Bayles’ mum filmed his deep distress in a now-viral video, to show “this is what bullying is doing”. We explain what happened in the clip, and look at the phenomenal response.
Nine-year-old Quaden Bayles is a local schoolboy who lives in Brisbane, Australia. Two days after he was conceived, his mother, Yarraka Bayles, was told by physicians that her child had a severe type of dwarfism, achondroplasia.
The video of Quaden Bayles
A distraught Yarraka posted a six-minute video clip to show “this is what bullying is doing and I want people to know how much this is hurting us as a family.”
After collecting her lad from school “in hysterics”, following further bullying, she filmed him and posted the clip on her Facebook page.
She explains in it: “I’ve just picked my son up from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal and I want people to know – parents, educators, teachers – this is the effect that bullying has.”
The video shows a sobbing young Quaden saying: “Give me a knife, I want to kill myself. I just want to die right now.”
His mum adds: “This is the impact that bullying has on a nine-year-old kid that just wants to go to school, get an education and have fun.
“But every single freaking day, something happens. Another episode, another bullying, another taunt, another name-calling.”
Understandably emotional herself, Yarraka pleads for advice from families on how best to raise awareness and increase knowledge about the impact of bullying in schools, so “this doesn’t happen” again.
She continues: “I’ve got a son that is suicidal almost every single day. “Every time there is a triggering – anything that happens at school, or while we’re in public, which is almost every time we’re in public.”
Yarraka says that she and other family members had to stay strong and positive for her boy, but she has to keep a constant eye on him, because of previous suicide attempts.
Three years ago, the mum found Quaden trying to take his own life because of the vicious taunts.
Yarraka adds: “I just want people to know, and see the impact because this could be your child or your child could be the bully that pushes a kid over the edge. “And God forbid we lose another child to suicide because of the bullying.”
How much money has been raised and who has donated?
Yarraka Bayles’s searingly honest and heartbreaking video has been viewed more than 19 million times.
Her appeal sparked an outpouring of worldwide support for her bullied boy, including from celebrities and athletes.
Australian actor Hugh Jackman said “you are stronger than you know, mate” and urged people to “be kind” to each other.
Eric Trump — the son of US President Donald Trump — said the video was “absolutely heartbreaking”.
Boston Celtics basketball player Enes Kanter wrote on Twitter: “This is one of the hardest videos I’ve watched. “No place in the world for bullies.”
The video prompted American comedian Brad Williams to launch a GoFundMe page to “send a wonderful kid to Disneyland”. Brad says he set it up to “let Quaden know that bullying will not be tolerated and that he is a wonderful human being who deserves joy”.
Kindhearted people from across the world have rallied behind the boy, and utterly blitzed Brad’s fundraising target of $10,000 to donate $442,925. About 20,000 people have dug deep to fly Quaden to Disneyland.
We’ve also led to Quaden Bayles bullying
Fundraising for him and his family to have a trip to Disneyland was a kind and heartfelt response. But a holiday was never going to be the life-changing response needed. His family has said “no thanks” to the holiday and requested the donated funds be redirected to not-for-profit organizations who work in related areas to rightly address the broader systemic issues. It is long overdue that we reflect on our own attitudes and systems which perpetuate the abuse and discrimination of people with disability.
The bullying of children with disabilities at school is not a new or uncommon occurrence. For years children and families have been speaking out about experiences and the profound impact this has, including suicide ideation and attempts. There has also been a range of publicly promoted surveys and research which reveal that approximately half of the students with disability report being bullied at school. That is more than twice the rate of bullying that the general population of school-aged children experiences. Over the years we have had flashes of outrage at publicized incidents of bullying of children with disability, but it is still happening and frequently.
How can we Help Reduce Bullying in Schools
Yet with beatings, death threats, and 24-hour technology-based harassment, bullying has become a life-threatening, dangerous epidemic. Children can’t get away from that, which has resulted in many suicides. Schools are trying to take a stance against bullying and educators have a rough time satisfying everybody including parents, politicians, and the media concerned.
For that issue, schools ought to find alternatives. It requires getting all the students, staff, and supervisors on hand to discourage abuse.
Here are some tips for helping you reduce your school bullying.
Building a positive school climate
Schools with a positive climate foster healthy development, while a negative school climate is associated with higher rates of student bullying, aggression, victimization, and feeling unsafe.
Advancing social and emotional learning
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is well known and involves teaching skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision making, and relationship management.
Have open communication
Communication is key to building rapport. When teachers have open communication with their students, their students will feel more open about their problems — including bullying — to discuss with them. Holding meetings in classrooms is one means of creating a connection.
Lots of individuals are interested in the lives of children. They can make a difference. The greatest change in a child’s life will be created as these individuals work together. Contact with parents regarding the actions of their kid — whether the kid is a victim of the bullying conduct or on the receiving end — can be difficult. Therefore teachers and staff need to establish relationships with their students ‘ parents.