Bullies suck, but sometimes the best way to deal with them is to call out their deplorable actions in public. One kid and his mother took to the internet to talk about his bad treatment at the hands of other kids, and ended up finding more support than they could’ve ever expected.
Knoxville, Tennessee middle schooler Keaton Jones said that he was being bullied so much that he would rather leave school early and skip lunch than face his tormentors. His mother, Kimberly, took a video of Keaton talking about how other kids poured milk on him, put food on his clothes, and mocked him. He had one simple question: Why?
Kimberly posted a brief explainer about the situation along with 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. 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. 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.
Keaton’s questions about bullying clearly struck a chord with more than just his middle school community and his mom’s friends on Facebook. The video has been viewed over 15.7 million times in just a few days, and it’s caught the attention of some major figures in the Knoxville area and the wider world at large via the hashtag #standwithkeaton.
Keaton has stayed mostly silent as the internet has rallied around him in support, but his sister Lakyn has stepped up as his advocate on Twitter.
University of Tennessee football players were among the first to rally around Keaton, and players from the state’s NFL squad, the Tennessee Titans, reached out with messages of support as well.
Please let his mother know that we are trying to reach out. Keaton has some friends on the football team that would love to spend some time with him. https://t.co/tj1ZqDM4KD
— Jarrett Guarantano✞ (@BroadwayJay2) December 9, 2017
But support for Keaton extended beyond just Tennessee. UFC boss Dana White shared the message, too.
Meet Keaton Jones a very smart little boy who is being bullied at school. This video is heartbreaking!! I want to bring Keaton to Vegas and hang out at UFC Headquarters. If anyone knows how i can reach the family please let me know. Thank u everyone pic.twitter.com/BR8c4ldDFc
— Dana White (@danawhite) December 10, 2017
Millie Bobby Brown, star of Stranger Things, chimed in.
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) December 9, 2017
Reigning rap queen Cardi B weighed in, with an important message: Bullying is not gangsta.
Who ever goes to this boy school ,If you pick on him you not even a bully YOU A STRAIGHT UP PUSSY ASS PUNK ASS BITCH .Like how you pick on somebody who can’t defend them self ? THATS NOT GANGSTA ! If you a parent or somebody big sis or big bro show your kids this video and show them why they should not bully others !!😡😡😡 👊🏽👊🏽👊🏽👊🏽
A post shared by Cardi B Official IG (@iamcardib) on Dec 9, 2017 at 11:28pm PST
A GoFundMe campaign even popped up to pay for Keaton’s future college tuition, as comedian Patton Oswalt led the charge to raise over $20,000 in less than 24 hours.
Let’s take care of this kid’s college tuition. The world’s dumped enough on his plate. Click and blast past the funding goal on this one, guys. Thank you. https://t.co/hLdgpaBINE
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 10, 2017
At the end of his viral message, Keaton introspectively told other kids dealing with bullies that things will probably get better, someday. From all of the responses on social media, that someday is now for him.
Hopefully, other victims of bullying will see things get better in their lives, too.