This story may be upsetting to some readers
An Australian mother is asking for disability awareness to be added to the school curriculum after a bullying incident left her nine-year-old son crying and expressing thoughts of suicide.
Yarraka Bayles shared a video of her son crying hysterically after school on social media. Quaden, 9, was born with Achondroplasia, a form of Dwarfism.
“I’ve just picked up my son from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people know, parents, educators teachers, this is the effects that bullying has, this is what bullying does,” Bayles can be heard saying.
She arrived at school to see a female student “patting him on the head like a puppy”, she told Australian news outlet SBS.
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In the video, the young Aboriginal boy, who was a student at Carina State School in Brisbane, repeatedly told his mother that he wanted to die.
Bayles said she shared this heartbreaking moment to show the effect bullying can have on a child and because she didn’t know what to do. She explained these episodes were a common occurrence and she had to constantly keep an eye on her son.
According to SBS, Quaden first attempted suicide at the age of six when his grandfather died, and there had been constant attempts since then.
“It’s the constant bullying, the name-calling, obviously pointing out his difference so now we have a … severely suicidal child who’s sick of the bullying that is [happening] every single day that he attends school or is in public.”
“I feel like I’m failing as a parent, I feel like the education system’s failing.”
Bayles didn’t blame the school or the child involved for the incident, but thought more needed to be done to raise awareness about disabilities in schools, such as inductions for new students or workshops.
“That would solve so many of the problems … it would protect the other kids with disabilities and help make them feel safe.”
Quaden had since been taken out of class and would most likely be home schooled.
The video had been viewed over four million times at the time of publication. Many viewers left messages of support for the young boy and his mum.
“Poor boy! He is beautiful you’re doing a brilliant job,” one person commented.
“So heartbreaking sis, the schools really need to do something about all the bullying happening,” another wrote.
New Zealand-Samoan actress Teuila Blakely also voiced her support for the young boy.
She shared a photo of Quaden with Indigenous NRL All Star Latrell Mitchell and praised the team’s work for standing up to bullies and giving a “special honour to a very special young Indigenous son”. Quaden was invited to lead the Indigenous team out for their game this Saturday.
“Y’all know how I feel about bullying of any kind, people big or small, who are unkind can straight get in the rubbish where they belong.. Life is for the loving.”
A study from the Make Bullying History Foundation in Australia found one in five students were bullied weekly.
Bayles told the Australian media outlet she had received a lot of criticism for sharing the video, but decided to keep it online to show the effect bullying had on her child. “If I don’t stand up and speak out for him, who will?”
In the video, she explained that she would be sharing videos every time an incident like this occurred, with the hope something will change.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
1737, Need to talk? – Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor
Depression.org.nz – 0800 111 757 or text 4202
Lifeline – 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 for people up to 18 years old. Open 24/7.
Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or find online chat and other support options here.
Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling available Monday-Friday, noon–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 3pm–10pm daily.
thelowdown.co.nz – Web chat, email chat or free text 5626
Anxiety New Zealand – 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
Supporting Families in Mental Illness – 0800 732 825.
If it is an emergency click here to find the number for your local crisis assessment team. In a life-threatening situation call 111.
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