Bullying is an all too common occurrence in schools around the globe.
With the rise of cell phones and modern-day technology, bullying is as easy as ever. Students can hide behind anonymous messages and fake social media names, contributing to the ongoing rise of bullying.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, over 20% of students admit to being bullied at some point in their academic careers.
Males are more likely to undergo physical abuse from their peers whereas females are significantly more likely to be subjected to verbal harassment.
Victims of bullying are far more likely to drop out of school, need counseling, and experience adverse health effects when compared to their non-bullied classmates.
One concerned parent noticed physical and mental changes in her son, so she was determined to figure out what was going on.
Liam was your typical seventh-grade student. He enjoyed soccer, hanging out with friends, and was always seen with a smile on his face.
After gradual decreases in his mood, Liam told his mother that he didn’t need a smartphone anymore.
Since tweens usually live on their phones, this was the first major red flag noticed by Liam’s mother. Slowly but surely, Liam stopped visiting with his friends and attending social events. He chose to spend nearly all of his free time indoors, away from other people.
Liam’s behavior became even more isolating.
He stopped playing soccer, his lifelong passion, and began to stop eating.
Just like other boys his age, Liam could devour entire plates of food without a second thought. Saying no to some of his favorite dishes was another huge cause for concern.
Finally, Liam told his mother that he didn’t want to attend school.
His mother, Deirdre, pleaded with her son to open up to her about what was going on.
“I was determined to get to the bottom of my son’s sudden and severe dismissal of his former passions, but he was so secretive and closed off. Finally, one Monday morning when he refused to go to school, I knew it was time to make it happen. I sat him down at the kitchen table and pleaded with him to share what was going on. We both cried as he reluctantly told me he was being bullied and it had been going on for a year,” said Deirdre in an interview with The Well.
Deirdre wanted to know just how often her son was getting bullied.
“A group of boys had decided that my son “sucked” and didn’t believe he should have made the soccer team. There were pushes and kicks. They used horrible language and called him nasty words. They told him he was nothing. That he should kill himself. They were merciless in their cruelty. I asked how often they did this to him. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Every day, Mom.”
The mom was at a loss for words. The fact that her son was being tormented every day for over a year left her heartbroken, but she was convinced to do everything in her power to help her son.
Soon, Liam was put on a feeding tube as he had developed a severe eating disorder. He was also enrolled in therapy for his depression.
But mom didn’t stop there.
She shared her son’s story on social media. Quickly, the post went viral. Liam received international support and sympathy.
The hashtag #WeStandWithLiam went viral as his story became a movement for anti-bullying.
After ten weeks at a facility to treat his depression, Liam was able to return to school at peak confidence. He joined his school’s soccer team and proceeded to finish out the season.
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