OPINION: Bullied Teen Keaton Jones Speaks Out — And I Believe Him [VIDEO]
Keaton Jones' video has generated support and sympathy as well as backlash and speculation about his mother's motives.
The video -- which has been viewed more than 20 million times -- spotlights the emotional middle school student from Tennessee describing what had been done to him. He had been the victim of bullying by five other students who allegedly poured milk on him, stuffed food in his clothing, and threatened to beat him.
But after the video which his mother posted on Facebook went viral, people began digging a little deeper and found what looked like evidence of racism on family members' social media feeds. Keaton and his mother, Kimberly Jones addressed these concerns when they spoke to CBS in the video below.
I'm going to break character, and share my opinion. I believe this boy and don't think he's just trying to game the internet for a few minutes of fame. And I believe the dilemma -- or Catch 22 -- he describes is valid. Going to a teacher or principal can sometimes lead to more antagonism. And from personal experience, I can tell you that sometimes school personnel choose to look the other way because it's easier. It's the path of least resistance.
Five years ago, my son was the victim of bullying and had to take matters into his own hands in order to get it to stop. You can read my personal account of that situation here, and learn how bullying led to tragedy for a local family.
As for Keaton, he says his video has made a difference.
"It made me feel like I had accomplished something real, something that could actually change the world."
But whether or not you believe Keaton or his mother, let's not lose sight of the real issue and remember that bullying is real and that it is a real problem. Real kids are victims, sometimes bullied in the traditional sense and sometimes made to feel inferior online and via social media channels. It's a reminder that parents and schools still have a long way to go.