Bullying: what we learnt in 2017


Although the sudden turn of events on the Keaton Jones story may have left a bitter taste in many people’s mouths, parents, educators and learners can still learn a valuable lesson about bullying.

With the use of social media constantly on the rise, our children are exposed to more information and technology than ever before. Jones’ mother may have exploited her son’s terrible situation for her own personal gain but many people on social media have shed light on other bullying stories from this year that could help inspire others to speak up and put an end to bullying.

Another day, another horrific incident

Only a few days apart, two young girls in the United States turned to suicide after the constant and endless bullying they received from their schoolmates.

10-year-old Ashawnty Davis hung herself and died two weeks later in hospital after a video of her being bullied started circulating around her school and on social media.

13-year-old Rosalie Avila from California also took her own life after being targeted by bullies for years. She claimed that they would make fun of her braces and call her ugly while filming these horrible ordeals. Her parents tried to help her by reassuring her that the bullying would end once her braces were removed, but the pain was too much for the young girl to handle.Her mother hopes bullying at school will receive more attention and that bullies must receive the same amount of counselling as those they are bullying.

In September, a 13-year-old boy in Johannesburg died as a possible result of bullying. He was injured while fighting off bullies at school. He stood up to boys who were hurting his brother and the bullies turned on him. The boy complained about severe headaches, and when his mother arrived at the school, she found her son had passed away. 

10-year-old Nyeeam Hudson went viral on social media after his mother filmed his motivational message for bullies. After being made fun of because of the shoes he was wearing, he responded by telling bullies, “No matter what I’m wearing, what I have on, it’s about my information, the knowledgeable things in life. These sneakers are not even going to fit you 20 years from now.”

Since then, he has had many more inspiring words for the world and has appeared on the Steve Harvey Show and Good Morning America. He now has started a GoFundMe called We are Kings where he hopes to reach his goal of $10,000 so he can write a book and produce an audio-book that will motive children, especially young boys to aspire for greatness.

Despite the unnerving stories that have been uncovered about Keaton and his family, it was motivating to see that the public took the story to heart and came together as a community to try and help him and his family and address the topic of bullying. Some were helping with locating the family so that heart felt messages of support would reach Keaton while others shared their own stories of bullying to show support and spread an anti-bullying message. 

Also read: Help your child build bullet-proof self-esteem with these children’s books

In October, popular fast food chain Burger King produced a commercial that brings home the message that 30% of students worldwide are being bullied. The commercial shows a group of boys bullying one child at the restaurant. Only 12% of people stood up to help the child while a majority of people stood back and watched.

When a server at the restaurant ‘bullied their burgers’ by putting his fist through the burgers and then serving them to customers, 95% of the customers addressed the problem in anger. The food giant wanted to show people that we should address bullying, even if we’re not directly being affected by it. No child deserves to be bullied.

Many children are told the ‘get over it’ and as a result remain silent as their torment intensifies. Teachers sometimes also feel powerless because children are too afraid to come forward about their trauma in fear of being labelled as ‘telltales’ and thus increasing the amount of bullying they face. However, it is important for communities and teachers to constantly spread of the message of anti-bullying.

Related: Is your child being bullied? Here’s how to check

In South Africa, the department of Basic Education aims to launch a national anti-bullying campaign called Stop, Walk, Talk in February 2018. This will hopefully see horrific stories about bullying decrease. Parents want their children to feel safe at all times and when they spend a majority of their time at school, anti-bullying campaigns are very necessary.

We hope 2018 will see schools, parents, students and teachers facing the issues that lead to bullying before more innocent young children take their lives.

Do you have any motivational stories that stem from bullying? Email us at and we may post your comments anonymously. 

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