In a recent Facebook post, Dan Bezzant, from Idaho Falls, pleaded for parents to “educate” their children on “compassion and love for our fellow man.”
Bezzant’s 7-year-old son, Jackson, has had to deal with insults such as “ugly,” “freak” and “monster” because he has Treacher Collins syndrome a rare disease that prevents his facial bones and muscles from developing correctly.
“He talks about suicide … He’s not quite 8!” Bezzant said.
In his Facebook post, Bezzant mentioned that other kids attacked Jackson — who feels socially excluded.
“He says he has no friends and everyone hates him. Kids throw rocks at him and push him, shouting these horrific words … please please take a minute and imagine if this were your child,” Bezzant said.
Bullying can happen anywhere, even at BYU-Idaho.
Vanessa Ramirez, a sophomore majoring in general studies, has dealt with bullying since fourth grade.
“I was first bullied when my foot got stuck in a hole and I fell,” Ramirez said. “Other kids started making fun of me because of my size.”
When she came to BYU-I, she thought she wouldn’t have to face bullies. She was wrong.
On one occasion, while walking back to her apartment holding a pizza box, someone shouted vulgar expressions that referenced her body weight, and how she had to stop “putting more fat to my body.”
About 1 in 6 students report having been bullied in college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Like younger kids, college students who experience bullying should report this sort of behavior to the school authorities, or else find ways to get away from the situation.
“Experience shows that trying to face the bully or attempting to appeal to the bully’s ‘soft side,’ are not very effective methods,” said Eric J. Gee, Psychology Department Chair at BYU-I.
If you are being bullied, talk to the school authorities and get help.