People from all over the world, including celebrities like Hugh Jackman and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, are showing their support for a 9-year-old after a video of him saying he wanted to "kill himself" because he is being bullied went viral.
In the video, which was posted to Facebook by the child's mother on Tuesday and has since been viewed more than 20 million times, Quaden Bayles can be heard saying "I wish I could stab myself in the heart" and that he "wants someone to kill" him because his classmates relentlessly mocked him about his height. Bayles was born with achondroplasia, a genetic order that results in dwarfism.
As his mother, Yarraka Bayles, filmed him, she questioned why educators and parents weren't doing more to inform their children about the consequences of bullying.
"I want people to know — parents, educators, teachers — this is the effect that bullying has," the mother said in the video. "This is what bullying does. So can you please educate your children? Your families, your friends? … You wonder why kids are killing themselves?"
The video has resonated with millions, including comedian Brad Williams, who also has dwarfism. After viewing the video, Willams started a GoFundMe in Quaden's honor to send the boy to Disneyland, because he is a "wonderful human being who deserves joy."
The GoFundMe has surpassed its original $10,000 goal; as of Friday afternoon, people had donated nearly $250,000.
"This isn’t just for Quaden, this is for anyone who has been bullied in their lives and told they weren’t good enough," Williams wrote in the page's description. "Let’s show Quaden and others that there is good in the world and they are worthy of it."
Other celebrities offered supportive messages to Quaden after viewing the video.
"Quaden, you are stronger than you know, mate, and no matter what you have a friend in me, Jackman said in a video posted to Twitter Thursday. "Let's just remember every person in front of us is facing some kind of battle, so let's just be kind."
Morgan also posted a video of support, in which he said that he'd like to meet Quaden in person.
"It'll get better," Morgan said. "As a dad of a nine-year-old, kids can be horrible and that's because their parents aren't doing their job ... You hang in there."
Eric Trump, the son of Donald Trump, weighed in on the video, calling it "absolutely heartbreaking" and urging Quaden to "stay strong."
Sports teams like the National Rugby League Indigenous All-Stars team have also rallied around the student.
It's not just celebrities who are reaching out to the Bayles family. People from all corners of the internet are sharing positive messages and detailing their own experiences with bullying in video responses, including Ella and Noah, two eight-year-old cousins from England, who urge Quaden not to listen to "mean people."
Bullying remains a chronic problem in schools, even as cases go underreported. According to a 2017 report from the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice, about 20 percent of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying in the U.S. Relationships Australia, a research and counseling organization that provides support services for families, estimates that about 25 percent of Australian students experience bullying at some point during their school careers.
Children who are bullied may experience depression or anxiety, and may face a greater risk of suicide, according to multiple reports.
Quaden is indigenous and some say racism has also contributed to him being bullied.
"If you are reading about 9-year-old Quaden Bayles, know that his story is not just about having a disability, but also about racism," tweeted lawyer Rebecca Kavanagh, alongside an article that states that indigenous youth between the ages of 15 and 24 are almost four times more likely to commit suicide than non-Indigenous people the same age.
"Aside from a few bullies who are bullying" him for speaking out in support of Quaden, Williams said it was "amazing to see all sort of people come together" so that Quaden can go to Disneyland. While the responses have been overwhelmingly positive, he hopes Quaden's case draws renewed and sustained attention to the detrimental effects of bullying and the actions that need to be taken to curtail it.