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Stand With Keaton Jones

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a49beT37Bc0]

That’s Keaton Jones, a student at Horace Maynard Middle School in Maynardville, Tenn. He is a victim of bullying. Watch the clip. It’s both heartbreaking and infuriating. It brought back memories of all the crap that I had to put up with when I was about his age.

Here’s a screen grab from the school’s website:

“Safe learning environment”? For shame. Greg Clay, why have you and your staff and your teachers failed Keaton Jones? Who else are you failing to protect and support from bullies?

You fathers and mothers who have raised children who bully Keaton Jones, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. If my son or daughter (yes, girls can be nasty bullies) was one of them, I would consider myself to have failed as a parent, and I would come down like a ton of bricks on the little sadist who bears my name. What is wrong with you? Why do you permit your child to torment other children? What kind of parent are you?

That clip has gone viral, and all kinds of celebrities and athletes are going public with their support for Keaton. God bless that boy. Everlasting shame be upon those who are cruel to him, and especially to those adults who know what bullies do to Keaton Jones, and who let it happen.

Justice for Keaton!

(Post whatever you like about this, but know that I am not going to permit this thread to turn into a Trump-bashing one.)

UPDATE: Reader Steve with important cautions:

As a middle school principal, my heart also breaks for this kid. Having said that, let’s pump the breaks for a minute, as the following can simultaneously be true: 1. A student gets bullied. 2. Teachers and administrators are doing their best to build good culture and root out bullying. 3. Bullies, or at least their entourage, can come from ostensibly solid households with parents trying to do right by their kids.

If the admin and teachers at Keaton’s school are dropping the ball, they should be held to account. If parents are dropping the ball, they should be held to account. I would urge caution before starting the witch hunt. For all we know the perps have been suspended or expelled and are sitting at home in their rooms grounded for the rest of their lives and writing apology letters. Based on the welcome letter, the principal is new to the school. Maybe Mr. Clay is knee deep trying to get an inherited mess turned around. Maybe he is a first year admin. Or maybe, as you seem to suggest, he really is failing at his job.

At my school we do our best to systematically deal with these issues, and for the most part we do a good job, but that doesn’t mean we don’t end up dealing with bullies from time to time. Finally “everlasting shame” is harsh, and frankly un-Christian. Some of my best student leaders at school are former bullies who have been reformed.

Whatever the actual context, I am glad his video is bringing attention to the issue and hopefully helping Keaton heal.

I hope that Keaton is able to heal emotionally and that he has the support he needs to thrive in school.

You’re right; “everlasting shame” is too far. I retract that remark.

UPDATE.2: A reader just posted:

Dear Keaton,
I am a 12 year Army Special Forces Combat Veteran. I have been out for a couple years now. Recently all anybody sees on the news or anywhere is how bad this world is getting. For a month or two I have been wrestling with my heart and feeling like what did I accomplish and if things are getting this bad why did I choose to fight and bleed for this country. Losing some of my best friends and soldiers anyone could have served with. I watched the video of you talking about being bullied but what you said next lit a fire in my heart. You were more worried about other kids being bullied. So Keaton what I am trying to say is thank you first of all. You have forever changed my life. And the reason I was fighting in other countries was for people just like you. You have a tremendous heart and you really have made all these questions I have asked myself 100 times. Don’t ever give up Keaton. You stay strong and I give you my military word and honor that if there is anything I can assist you with in life all you have to do is just ask. In just a few days you really have changed millions of lives. I salute you young man. Your my inspiration. I would be willing to drive to your school with permission of course to have lunch with you on a daily basis. It’s people with hearts like you that is definitely worth fighting for. Do not get down or discouraged buddy. Bullied take out stuff on other kids cause they are mostly insecure with themselves. Thank you Keaton and your entire family for putting this out there cause it definitely changed my life and answered the question I have been struggling to find. I pray you get to read this someday soon. You are my Superhero. Thanks again. I’ll never forget you. Not ever. God Bless You and your family. Thanks again for giving me the answer I needed.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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