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.
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 4 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.
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.