“Give me a knife, I want to kill myself,” this are the heart-breaking words coming out of a distressed 9-year-old Quaden Bayles’ mouth in a video that was posted by his mom Yarraka Bayles when she picked him from school where he was being bullied for being dwarf.
Quaden’s mother is heard speaking in the background of the Facebook live video explaining what bullying does to an individual and especially his son who has a disability. In tears she talks of how often her son comes back from school with suicidal thoughts and she has to stay close to him all the time to ensure the 9-year-old does not commit suicide. In the video, she says Quaden had previously attempted suicide and so she decided to post the video to raise awareness on the impacts of bullying to children with disabilities. “This is what bullying does, can you please educate your children, your families, your friends?” she said in the video.
The video which was posted on February 18, 2020 attracted millions and millions of views with different reactions from different people around the globe. Most people have shown their support and sent messages of love encouraging the boy and his family to forge forward and stay strong.
Quaden Bayles and his mother Yarraka Bayles come from the Australian state of Queensland. He was born with a condition called achondroplasia dwarfism. During an interview with an Australian local media station Quaden’s mother reported that her son has undergone multiple surgeries due to his disability to help him live a normal and healthy life.
Yarraka Bayles has long been an advocate for indigenous issues and dwarfism, and Quaden is the face of ‘Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism’, a charity set up by her to raise awareness and stop bullying.
Quaden and Family Turns Down Offer to Visit Disneyland
After the heartbreaking video caused headlines around the world, United States comedian Brad Williams raised more than $700,000 through a GoFundMe page online campaign to send Quaden to Disneyland. The family however, left the world completely stunned by his “selfless” decision to decline the Disneyland trip saying they want the money to go to charity instead.
While speaking to NITV a local media station in Australia, his family confessed that they were touched by the gesture, but wanted to focus on “the real issue”. “This little fellow has been bullied. How many suicides, black or white, in our society have happened due to bullying?” his aunt, Mundanara Bayles, said. “We want the money to go to community organizations that really need it,” she added.
Australia and the entire globe were rightly saddened by the bullying of Quaden Bayles. This is why we need a lasting and permanent solution to bullying persons with disabilities. It is high time we reflect on our own attitudes that propagate the abuse and discrimination of people with disability.
Bullying of special needs children at school is not a new occurrence, for a long time now, children and their families have come out to talk about their own experiences and the intense impact this has, including suicide attempts.
To be honest, disability is still something many feel uncomfortable and hold deeply fixed misconceptions about. The misconceptions make people view and understand disability as something negative and feel deeply challenged by the different abilities people with disability live with. It is disappointing that Disability still consistently evokes pity and ridicule from others.
It long overdue that we get sensitized on disability issues so that we mentor different generations that disability is not inability and it does not require pity, sympathy or favors but need equal treatment, equal opportunities and most importantly acceptance and love. Putting an end to bullying starts from us then grows into the larger community. Let us avoid cases such as Quaden Bayles’ and make our children, brothers, sisters, and friends with disabilities comfortable and happy in our communities.
By: Linzer Kibebe