Seven-year-olds are supposed to talk about Minecraft. Halloween costumes. The burden of math homework. They’re not supposed to be talking about suicide.
But that's exactly what Jackson Bezzant, a little boy from Idaho, is talking about. His dad’s Facebook post had gone viral, shared nearly 40,000 times at press time. It’s the story of a 7-year-old boy who has been bullied; a 7-year-old boy who has been wondering when it’s all going to end. Jackson’s dad, Dan Brezzant, wants to protect his kid. He just doesn’t know how.
Kids throw rocks at this little boy. They put this child through unspeakable horrors. Says Dan Bezzant: “My son Jackson has to endure a constant barrage of derogatory comments and ignorance like I've never witnessed. He is called ugly and freak and monster on a daily basis by his peers at school. He talks about suicide ... he's not quite 8! He says he has no friends and everyone hates him. Kids throw rocks at him and push him shouting these horrific words ... please please take a minute and imagine if this were your child. Take a minute to educate your children about special needs. Talk to them about compassion and love for our fellow man.”
Jackson has Treacher Collins syndrome, a condition that affects the bones and tissues of the face. He’s being attacked for how he looks, something that’s far beyond his own control. And he’s not alone. Consider these figures from Bullying Online: 82 percent of children with learning disabilities are bullied and 79 percent are scared to go out because they are frightened they might be bullied.
These kids do what they’ve been taught. No child comes out hating, right? But kids aren’t being taught not to hate — not if you look at the statistics.
Sixty-two percent of parents think their kids are “too distracted” to hear what they say, according to a survey by Highlights. That’s more than half of the parents in America. And yet, when was the last time you accidentally let loose a curse word, only to have it bite you in the butt at the oddest moment? Kids take it all in.
The problem isn’t with Jackson or Dan. The problem is with the parents who make comments in front of their own kids, who would call a child a nasty name, who would say something against a kid like Jackson. Or who never talk to their kids about differences at all.
Imagine if Jackson was your kid. What would you hope the other kids were saying? That’s exactly what you should hope your kid is saying now, regardless of who they are. And that's why Dan has taken to social media to share his heart-breaking plea with parents: Talk to your kids about bullying. It could save a life like Jackson's.