The young boy was born with Achondroplasia—the most common form of Dwarfism—and has faced constant discrimination throughout his life for his disability.
TRIGGER WARNING: This article discusses suicide
A heartbroken mother had no choice but to turn to social media for help after her 9-year-old son became the victim of yet another bullying incident at a Brisbane State School. Posting a harrowing Facebook Live video of her Quaden begging to end his life, Yarraka Bayles called for disability awareness to be included in school curriculums. According to SBS, the young boy was born with Achondroplasia—the most common form of Dwarfism—and has faced constant discrimination throughout his life for his disability.
He broke down in tears on Wednesday when he was targetted yet again at the Carina State School. Speaking of the incident she'd witnessed herself, Bayles said, "He wasn't even going to school yesterday until the principal rang and said the Brisbane Bullets were coming. I went to pick him up and saw him with the kids and the Bullets on the basketball court. Me, my daughter, and my granddaughter were watching and then while they were lining up to get their singlets signed by the players, one of his classmates was patting him on the head and making references to his height."
"She was patting him on the head like a little puppy. My daughter and I looked at each other and we made signals to him to ask if you are right, and he was like 'no' and he was looking at me horrified, like 'don't make a scene mum,'" she continued. "You could tell he was very uncomfortable but he was so good at trying to shrug things off, he doesn't want people to know how much it's affecting him, he's so strong and confident but it's times like these when you just see him crumble. It was just heartbreaking to watch, it made me feel helpless."
Bayles revealed that as Quaden was hysterical after the incident, she took him to her car to talk it over with him. However, the heartbroken young lad was so overwhelmed by the constant hatred and ridicule he faced that he threatened to take his own life, saying that "he wished he was dead." Shattered by her son's emotional state, Bayles shared his reaction on social media hoping to raise awareness about the discrimination and bullying he's been facing for years. The concerned mother revealed that she's had to keep an eye on her son around the clock as he has made several suicide attempts since the age of 6, with some very close calls.
Since the video was live-streamed on Facebook, Bayles and Quaden have received a wave of support from the community. However, they've also received harsh criticism from some, which Bayles says she expected. "I have copped a lot of backlash for it, I thought twice about deleting it... but I wanted people to see the effect bullying is having on my child. If I don't stand up and speak out for him, who will," she said.
"Nobody knows the battles we face in private. I usually share all the positive highlights, but this stuff needs to be addressed to save our babies' lives," Bayles stated. Following the constant bullying from his peers, Quaden has been removed from school after just three weeks of classes and will likely be homeschooled from hereon as he has been in the past. Although Bayles doesn't place blame on the child involved in the recent incident or the school for what her son has had to face, she stresses the need for more action to prevent further instances of bullying. She believes a regular induction for new children, a school-wide address, or even workshops to raise awareness about disabilities could help combat the issue.
"That would solve so many of the problems, I have already spoken about this at the school, it would protect the other kids with disabilities and help make them feel safe. Even if their whole class does something, a teacher reads a book, for example, there are so many things we can do. It should be a part of the curriculum by now," she said.