“Hey kid, nice ball you got there,” a teen jeers as he approaches a boy of elementary-school age in a park. “Can I see it?” Not waiting for an answer, he rolls the ball away from the younger child. “C’mon, just give it to me man,” he demands, as the boy protests, “No, it’s mine.” But the bully and his two friends ignore him, kicking the ball out of reach. Just then, though, a man gets up from a bench and approaches them.
Sadly, such scenes are not uncommon in the U.S. Over the course of the school year ending in 2013, almost 30 percent of pupils aged 12-18 stated that they’d been bullied at school. This was reported in a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics’ Institute of Education Sciences and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
This was brought sharply into focus in December 2017 when a heartbreaking video of middle-school pupil Keaton Jones talking about being bullied went viral. Jones, who has had a tumor since birth, has undergone numerous surgeries for his condition. These procedures have altered his facial appearance and made him a target for bullies.