In a deeply heartbreaking video posted to Facebook last Tuesday, we see a mother, Yarraka Bayles, at her wit’s end watching her nine-year-old son sobbing and saying he wants to kill himself after being bullied at school. Making it clear that they are no strangers to constant bullying and stares, she speaks from the behind camera, urging parents, educators, and people to finally listen to take action.
Bayles is mother to Quaden, who was born with a Dwarfism condition, Achondroplasia. They live in Brisbane, Australia, where her son’s bullying has gotten out of control. In the video, she had just witnessed another child making fun of Quaden, leading him to cry out, “I want to die.”
This is the impacts of bullying! I seriously don’t know what else to do! 😭Posted by Yarraka Bayles on Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Bayles said, “I’ve just picked up my son from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people [to] know, parents, educators teachers, this is the effects that bullying has, this is what bullying does.”
According to Australian news SBS, she had witnessed another child patting Quaden on the head as if he were a puppy and not a fellow nine-year-old child. She said, “You could tell he was very uncomfortable, but he was so good at trying to shrug things off. He doesn’t want people to know how much it’s affecting him; he’s so strong and confident, but it’s times like these when you just see him crumble. It was just heartbreaking to watch, it made me feel helpless.”
In the video, we see Quaden crying out that he wants to die, while his mom explains that he says it every day. He’s also made suicide attempts before as well, she explained.
The video has been viewed millions of times, urging parents and community members to take real action. Because words DO hurt. Responding on Facebook, people had a lot to say — mostly about how people need to get their act together and stop the bullying:
“The school needs to sort their shit out and speak to all the kids about anti-bullying. I would approach the parents who are bullying.” — Amanda Grace Kelly
“Heartbroken for you and family. Get him to identify the kids and take it to Department. Demand action from the school and request meetings with parents!!” — Nikki Murphy
“They need to protect him at school! I have a special needs son and I fear this everyday.” — Ana Hernandez
“People are so cruel. School needs to be accountable and work on the bully culture.” — Danielle Tuwai
Others missed the mark a lot—by blaming the mother. When we share this sort of pain online, we let others know the reality of what goes on.
“She’s part of the problem. She addressing social media but not going to the source of the problem. Approach the parents of the bullies.” — Venita Yates
While others still discussed the root of bullying (but for the record, the person being traumatized and abused shouldn’t be responsible for setting an example):
“Bullying starts from home and kids need to be taught how bad it can affect our life. The schools don’t really do much, they talk but not actually do anything. Your a great young boy and u need to stand up high, be a good example of how kids should be kind to each other.” — Suzy Al Georges
Of course, some parents mentioned homeschooling, which doesn’t exactly solve the issue of rampant bullying in schools (in addition to separating a child from other kids) although this is a decision that only the family can make:
“Quaden u are a strong warrior u have overcome heaps of surgery and overcome this HOMESCHOOLING SIS.” — Debbie Jones
More so, the hashtag #QuadenBayles started trending on social media, with celebs getting involved to spread the message.
According to Fox News, Comedian Brad Williams (who was also born with dwarfism) launched a Go Fund Me page, raising nearly $300,000. The money was intended to send Quaden to Disneyland.
Even Hugh Jackman shared some words, with other celebs commenting on the issue:
The cruelty is as astonishing as it is heartbreaking.— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) February 21, 2020
Hey little man. For what it’s worth you have taught my family so much. You have inspired us and in our home you are a hero. Thank you for your courage, stay strong the world is watching and you have so much beautiful power. From me and my boys. We are with you and we thank you. https://t.co/QuTL0vvnor— Jon Bernthal (@jonnybernthal) February 20, 2020
In an interesting turn of events, however, people are doubting Quaden’s age and the overall honesty of the video:
According to The New York Post, Twitter user Jasmein Dowe—whose post has been removed—suggested that Quaden was actually 18. The inference that he and his mother were pranking people in order to get money.
In her original post, she wrote, “Now if I’m wrong please source your link and explain why to me,” she wrote, according to the screenshot. “He’s a Instagram celeb @quadosss and deleted captions pertaining to his 18th birthday post.”
People are going back and forth trying to figure the issue out, citing Instagram posts like these:
Twitter is definitely enrapt in conversation about the matter:
Let me sum up this #QuadenBayles situation:— Trab (@mile12hurts) February 21, 2020
9 y/o Quaden gets bullied.
Social Media rallies to his rescue.
Social Media believes he's faking and that he's 18
Social Media bullies Quaden
Social Media finds out he's really 9
Social Media: pic.twitter.com/2hB2YiiiL8
#QuadenBayles is NOT 18! He’s 9. Nobody got finessed. His mother Yarraka Bayles has been an advocate for Dwarfism Awareness & Acceptance. Her mission is to educate & celebrate, & Stop Bullying. It’s so disgusting to see the perspective of many individuals on Twitter who cry scam pic.twitter.com/9az8tygkXp— Tony Garcia (@thelifedream420) February 21, 2020
“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet” says the people who believe #QuadenBayles is 18 because of some Facebook post with no actual proof. Just search a bit deeper and you’ll find the truth. Stop spreading lies. He’s 9. pic.twitter.com/ovQezLvv4t— 🌷✭ (@Trashnaldo) February 21, 2020
#QuadenBayles is 9. He never said he was poor and/or needed money. He’s been in multiple documentaries and series advocating for ppl with dwarfism.— Kin The Rex (@KindesaurusRex) February 21, 2020
I don’t get the outrage. Y’all donated because he was bullied- & he is.
Don’t start makin shit up because you’re mad he’s not poor. pic.twitter.com/RRmJDDdzPI
According to the Post, there is evidence—according to Facebook posts—that he is, in fact, nine.