Jaylens Challenge

Critique by: Chris Talbot-Heindl; Graphic from: Jaylens Challenge Foundation, Inc.

October is, among other things, National Bullying Prevention Month.

Rather than go off about bullies, which I think we can all agree, are a bunch of fuckheads, I want to highlight something positive for a change: Jaylen Arnold.

Jaylen Arnold is currently aged 13, and he was born with autism and Tourette’s syndrome. Arnold was bullied at school on a daily basis.

I can’t help it, I do have to interject here and say, “What kind of fucking numb nuts bullies people with autism?” Okay, that’s done.

When Arnold was only 8-years-old, he began a non-profit called Jaylens Challenge whose “main goal is to help everybody and try to banish bullying for all. Bullying no way, like the wristband says,” as Arnold explained.

Jaylens Challenge Foundation, Inc is a non-profit that promotes awareness and prevents bullying through education and community service. Jaylens Challenge provides free posters, bullying facts, educational trainings, community service activities and fundraisers, and a blog.

The bullying facts that Jaylens website provide are a bit staggering. It claims “18 million kids will be bullied in the United States this year. That’s 1 out of every 4 children [sic]. 3 million students are absent each month and fake being sick because they feel unsafe at school. That’s 160,000 per day. 282,000 students are physically attacked in Middle Schools each month. That’s 9,400 per day. 43% of kids fear harassment in the bathroom at school. Child and teen bullying along with cyber-bullying and texting are at an all time high. Bullying no longer ends when the school day ends. It now lasts all day due to advancement [sic] in technology. Some kids are so tormented that suicide has become an alternative for them.

Arnold knows all these statistics and yet, he says we all can make a difference. He says that if we teach and educate people about differences, they won’t bully.  He also says that when you see someone being bullied; stand up for him or her.

This may seem like incredibly simple advice, but not everyone does stand up for people being bullied, especially cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is a relatively new thing that even my generation hasn’t experienced in the same way that my nieces and nephews have. In an episode of What Would You Do, they covered cyber bullying and it wasn’t until the bullies approached people to participate that people took a stand against it.

For teenagers who have no escape from this kind of torment, reacting after being approached may be too late. There have been countless recent suicides from bullying and cyber bullying.

Take Jaylen Arnold’s advice, and stand up to it, every time you see it.