* CONTENT WARNING *
Queensland mum Yarraka Bayles has been flooded with support after live-streaming a heartbreaking video of her nine-year-old son’s despair after being bullied over his short stature.
Bayles, an advocate for Indigenous issues and disability awareness, told NITV that she went to pick her son up from Brisbane’s Carina State School on Wednesday and witnessed another student picking on Quaden because of his height.
Quaden was born with achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism.
After returning to the car, a fed-up Bayles started to film her son’s anguish in hopes of urging parents to take action against the nonstop bullying her son endures.
“I’ve just picked my son up from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people to know – parents, educators, teachers – this is the effect that bullying has,” Bayles said in the Facebook Live video.
“All it takes is for one more instant. You wonder why kids are killing themselves.”
Bayles explained in the video that the taunting and teasing of her son is constant and he often has thoughts of taking his life.
In tears, Quaden said in the video: “I just want to die right now.
“Give me a knife I want to kill myself.”
As of Friday afternoon, the Facebook Live was viewed 25 million times.
“A lot of my favourite celebrities are messaging me on Instagram, my favourite rappers,” Quaden told NITV in an exclusive interview.
US comedian Brad Williams, who describes himself as a “Part time dwarf” on Twitter has launched a GoFundMe Page to raise funds for Quaden and his mum to visit Disneyland.
The page had raised nearly $400k on Friday, Brad has reached out to Ellen Degeneres for help managing the campaign.
“The love you have shown is unbelievable. Thank you! Money donated will not be wasted! We have a team of people making sure everything is completely legitimate,” Williams said on Friday.
“We thank you for your generosity and patience while we make sure all this is done the right way.”
Prominent community members, including sports stars and actor Hugh Jackman, have pledged their support to Quaden online.
“That is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen,” Aboriginal artist Allan Mckenzie said before donating a print of his famous “Because of Her We Can” to Quaden’s mum.
“I want you and your family Quaden to know we stand with you, brother we support you in your journey, brother.”
“Quaden’s mother shared publicly a video of him begging for a rope to take his own life due to bullying. The thing about blackfellas is, you bully one of us,you bully all of us. We stand with you Quaden and we need you here, on earth,” shared activist Nessa Turnbull-Roberts
AFL legend Leigh Matthews called for a long-term plan to stop discrimination of short-statured people.
“This is the impact on a nine-year-old kid that just wants to go to school, get an education and have fun,” Bayles explained in the video.
“But every single freaking day, something happens. Another episode, another bullying, another taunt, another name-calling.”
Bayles told NITV there has also been criticism of the video, but she was prepared for that.
“I have copped a lot of backlash for it, I thought twice about deleting it but I wanted people to see the effect bullying is having on my child,” she told the publication.
“If I don’t stand up and speak out for him, who will?”
Bayles added that disability awareness needs to be raised within schools and the discrimination needs to be addressed in order to save lives.
“Nobody knows the battles we face in private. I usually share all the positive highlights, but this stuff needs to be addressed to save our babies’ lives.”
NITV reports Quaden has since been removed from the school and will likely be home-schooled.
Bayles told the publication she does not blame any specific child, although she is urging the school to take more action to educate students and parents about the effects of bullying.
The family thanked people from around the world for the support during a media conference on Friday:
If you or someone you know needs help:
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890
Outside of Australia, please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.