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7th Grader in viral bullying video speaks out to other victims, "If you're getting bullied, don't think of any self-harm because it's not worth it."
Chances are, if you are on social media, you recognize this snapshot (right) from a video of a boy being taunted, chased down the school hallway, cornered and punched, with no help from bystanders or teachers. One of our past Project Youth's mom's texted us, "Is there anything we can send this young boy?" So, we located him! This courageous boy is DREW, a 7th Grader from Alabama.
The bullying video was posted to Facebook and received around 4 million views with 50,000 shares before it was removed due to the violent content. (You can safely WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW in the FOX10 News report where they have removed all the curse words.)
Drew's mom is a US soldier and she told Be-A-Friend Project Director, Jennifer Young, "I have taught him to only fight to defend his life, because someone could get hurt or killed. I've also taught him quick effective punches if he ever needed them to defend and get away." Knowing he has these skills, we think Drew showed EPIC SELF-CONTROL and MATURITY in not resorting to violence in his attempt to evade and talk with his attackers. He also attempted to seek out a teacher for help, but unfortunately ran into a dead end. According to Drew's mom, he was targeted by the bullies because "he is smart and they didn't like his 'come backs' when they would try to put him or his friends down."
The bullying had been going on for more than a month at the time of this video. Drew told Fox10 news reporter, Devon Coffaro, that the incident in the video started when he called one of the students a “coward.” He said he called him a coward because that student punched him in the back of the head, picked him up, and dropped him on the ground the day before while he was walking to the bus.
Drew's mom removed him from school until the administration took action against the boys who were assaulting him. The video was helpful in proving Drew's innocence in the situation. His mom says he has since returned to school and "a lot of kids say hi to him now that he doesn't even know" and "he's doing better now that they moved those guys out of his classes."
Emotional scars from being assaulted, especially in a place like school that is supposed to be safe, takes time and support to heal. That's where YOU come in! Help Drew during this critical time in his recovery from physical bullying by writing him a letter to let him know how you feel about what he endured and that he is not alone! Tell him if you think he was brave!
We chose Drew as our next Project Youth, not only for the intense bullying he endured, but because of his IMPORTANT, THOUGHTFUL AND EMPATHIC MESSAGE TO OTHER YOUNG VICTIMS:
"Keep your head high and stick up for those who can't stick up for themselves. If you're getting bullied, don't think of any self-harm because it's not worth it."
Drew took the time to speak out to help other victims and, in our eyes, that makes Drew an UPSTANDER, too!
Drew is smart, insightful and caring. He is also a great artist! His mom says "he can draw anything!"
Please help us REACH OUT AND BE-A-FRIEND TO Drew so we can surprise him with the biggest package of "Friend Mail" EVER!!
Send 1 letter or whole bunches of letters!
The Be-A-Friend Project does not give advice, therapy or intervention.
Our one purpose is to send letters and cards of encouragement and caring from kids to kids.
Let's talk about VIRAL VIDEOS for a minute...
Imagine being in middle school, and one of the worst moments of your school life is captured on video and seen by 4 million people across the country and shared over 50,000 times, some adding a caption like "THIS IS HOW SCHOOL SHOOTINGS HAPPEN." While those captions are maybe meant to be a display of support for how angry and hurt Drew must have felt during this incident, we wonder if captions like that hurt and offended him as well? How would you have felt? Also, is it more important to shoot video that becomes evidence or to run for help or step in to help protect Drew at the moment? What are your thoughts?
This FOX10 News Report shows the entire viral bullying video with Drew. (Warning, it is heartbreaking!)
Watch to the end to hear Drew's important message for other kids who are victims of bullying!
Thanks for checking in! We delivered 2/13/17!
Drew's "Friend Mail" delivery held 519 letters of peer support from kids across the country!
"Thank you! This is really kind. I'm very thankful for the thoughts and support. I enjoyed the time I spent reading through all the letters!"
In this picture, Drew is holding one of his favorite letters. This one came from Eagle Rock High School in Los Angeles, California! KINDNESS MATTERS!
Be-A-Friend to Drew!
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