An Idaho father whose 7-year-old son was being bullied at school posted an emotional letter on Facebook in hopes that the message would help others educate their children better.
The post, not surprisingly, went viral, as Dan Bezzant explained how his son, Jackson, was the victim of bullying, including hurtful comments about the way he looks and having rocks thrown at him.
Jackson has Treacher Collins syndrome which affects the facial tissue and bone development. As a result, he is almost deaf and has impaired eyesight. He has had major surgery and will need future surgeries.
Jackson’s dad was so saddened to hear that other kids were calling him “ugly” and “freak.” Bezzant told InsideEdition.com: “When I was told about it, I was just in my car sobbing in the driveway.”
He decided to pour his thoughts into a Facebook post, beginning with: “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.”
He continued, explaining: “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.”
Bezzant didn’t expect the message to go viral, noting, “I was just making a plea to my friends and family and asking them to spread the message of love and understanding for all. The message isn’t just for Jackson, it’s for all kids who are experiencing bullying.”
Bezzant’s message was well received by many and, as a result of the post, he made contact with two other families in East Idaho who have children with Treacher Collins syndrome. He has also set up a P.O. box for those who wanted to send cards to Jackson.
He explained, “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. I hope it brings awareness to the topic.”
The post received thousands of comments from caring people, including notes of praise for Jackson, such as: “Jackson will prevail and be the bigger person. Those bullies are not worthy of his friendship anyway. He does not need them. I have a grandson named Jackson who is 7 and I’m sure he would be friends with him. Stay strong.”
Another commenter noted: “He’s gorgeous and anyone who thinks or says otherwise is not worth knowing! Keep smiling that beautiful smile, Jackson.”
And this person weighed in with commentary about children, saying: “Kids are horrific. I hope things get better. It shouldn’t matter about facial structure ANYWAY. It’s the heart that counts, and I bet he has a good one.”