A Tennessee child’s plea to stop bullying at his school has gone viral, earning the attention of college and professional athletes, musicians and others who are seizing on the emotional video to reiterate the harm and pain caused by bullying.
Kimberly Jones posted the video on Dec. 8. She says her son Keaton asked her to record the video “AFTER he had he [her] pick him up AGAIN because he was afraid to go to lunch” because of his bullies. In a video just over a minute long, Keaton looks into the camera and asks: “Out of curiosity, why do they bully? What’s the point of it? Why do they find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It’s not okay!”
He goes on to recount mocking and teasing from unnamed bullies at his Knoxville-area school, who he says pour milk on him and throw food at him. His mother captioned the now-viral video with:
“Talk to your kids. 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.”
Since the video was posted, players from the Tennessee Volunteers, the Tennessee Titans and UFC President Dana White have all said they want to help cheer up Keaton, according to SB Nation. Others, like Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., tweeted encouraging messages.
@Lakyn_Jones Hello, Keaton (via your sister)! You may have heard of my parents, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (#MLK) and #CorettaScottKing. I try to honor them and their legacies. I’m so sorry about the pain you’re experiencing because of bullying. You matter. I love you.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) December 9, 2017
For all the attention, though, it’s unclear where this even happened. WBIR reports that they’re still working on determining which school might be at the center of this video. So far, Knox County Public Schools have said that there is no Keaton Jones who is “currently enrolled” in the school system.