Rallying Around a Bullied Boy


Bullying can damage a child for a lifetime. But we can work together to change that — even after bullying happens. When we show a bullied child that he or she was not at fault, when we make them feel more secure and loved by others despite the bullying, we help limit the suffering caused by bullying. Today I want to tell you about some folks who did just that in a northern Ohio community called Bay Village. A 14-year-old autistic boy was seriously bullied by schoolmates who had promised to help him participate in the popular ice bucket challenge to raise money for ALS research. Instead, the classmates dumped a bucket filled with urine and spit on the boy — and recorded the whole thing on video. They then went a step further by posting the video on Instagram.

Yes, horrible indeed. Local police are investigating the prank with an eye toward filing charges. But here’s the encouraging part of the story. Bay Village residents reacted by holding a rally to show support for the boy and increase awareness of bullying’s effects. They also are collecting money for ALS research and an organization called Autism Speaks. Some local folks are raising funds to help the family of the autistic boy as well. On a web page created by these good people, they wrote this: “Love only triumphs if we all share it. So… If you believe that this young man is awesome and you want to let him know, please share this with your friends on Facebook.” See what I mean? Surely this warm response to the bullying will better enable this boy to recover from the incident. And he will learn at the same time, as we’re reminded, that the bullies in our society are a distinct minority. It’s up to the rest of us to make sure bullying victims know this … and feel it too.