It’s no secret that kids can be downright cruel.
In fact, according to the Ambassadors 4 Kids Club (A4K), a child is being bullied every seven minutes.
What’s worse… Adults only intervene in 4 percent of cases, and peers are reported to intervene in 11 percent—while a whopping 85 percent of bullying cases go unnoticed or ignored.
Dan Bezzant is one father who is tired of seeing those sickening statistics on the rise. Dan has witnessed the catastrophic effects of bullying firsthand, as his 7-year-old son Jackson is taunted daily.
Born with Treacher Collins syndrome, Jackson has gotten used to the points and stares in his direction, reminding him of just how different he is.
Genetics Home Reference describes Treacher Collins as “a condition that affects the development of bones and other tissues of the face.”
In addition to the facial abnormalities, Jackson has to deal with greatly impaired vision and hearing. The first-grader is required to wear hearing aids and has already been through many surgical procedures as a result of his genetic condition.
As though his physical limitations weren’t enough, the boy is also the prime target for mental abuse at his Rigby, Idaho, elementary school.
Recently, Jackson was eating breakfast at school when three older peers came up to him and started taunting him with cruel names like “freak” and “monster.”
Thankfully, this was one instance that fell in the slim 4 percent. A teacher’s aide caught wind of the situation and stopped the bullies in their tracks. But the damage to poor Jackson had already been done.
When Dan heard about the situation, his heart SHATTERED for his helpless boy.
“When I was told about it, I was just in my car sobbing in the driveway,” Bezzant told InsideEdition.com.
Tired of being a passive bystander to his son’s abuse, the Idaho father took to Facebook in an effort to raise awareness:
“My heart is in pieces right now…my soul feels like it’s ripping from my chest…this beautiful young man my son Jackson has to endure a constant barrage of derogatory comments and ignorance like I’ve never witnessed. He is called ugly and freak and monster on a daily basis by his peers at school. He talks about suicide…he’s not quite 8! 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. Take a minute to educate your children about special needs. Talk to them about compassion and love for our fellow man. His condition is called Treacher Collins. Maybe even look it up. He’s endured horrific surgery and has several more in the coming years. Anyway…I could go on…but please educate your children. Please…share this. This shouldn’t be happening…to anyone.”
His post, riveted with raw emotion, has since gripped the hearts of thousands across the country. Nearly 60,000 people have shared his powerful words since they were written on September 14.
And that’s not the only positive outcome Dan’s anti-bullying message has had.
“I am receiving constant messages of people sending love and prayers for Jackson. All I am asking is that you teach your children about bullying and making sure that kids understand that people are built differently and God loves us all,” says Dan. “I hope it brings awareness to the topic.”
The post also caught the attention of parents in the area whose kids suffer from Treacher Collins, just like Jackson. Dan says he plans to coordinate a playdate with them in the near future.
Though he never imagined his heart-cry for his son would go this far, he is very pleased that it has spread like wildfire. Dan hopes it will not only fight bullying on Jackson’s behalf, but on behalf of victims everywhere.
“I was just making a plea to my friends and family and asking them to spread the message of love and understanding for all,” he added. “The message isn’t just for Jackson, it’s for all kids who are experiencing bullying.”