Keaton Jones on national reaction to bullying video
Keaton Jones is dealing with middle school bullies in East Tennessee and people across the nation, including President Trump's son, have made it clear they have his back.
In a video Jones' mom, Kimberly, posted on Friday to her Facebook, Jones emotionally describes how he does not want to go to lunch because his classmates poured milk over his head, stuffed ham in his clothes and threw bread at him.
"Why do they bully, what's the point of it?" Jones said in the video. "Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It's not OK."
Kimberly recorded the video in her car after picking Jones up from school because he was afraid to go to lunch at Horace Maynard Middle School.
Local 8 News sat down with Jones after his story went viral.
"I don't like going back and thinking about it because that was awful," said Jones. "It made me feel awful about myself even."
Jones said he knows the dark reality of bullying not just one time but his entire school career
"It's been pretty rough, said Jones. "It's been hard."
Union County Director of Schools Jimmy Carter said he's investigating the bullying allegations brought to light by the video. Carter said the punishments for bullying varies within the school system.
The school system issued the following statement to Local 8 News:
"To fulfill our mission of educating all children in Union County Public Schools, we must provide an academic environment that is safe, civil and supportive. We do not tolerate bullying and have a policy in place that addresses conduct taking place on school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided transportation or at any official school bus stop. With any incident of bullying that is reported to our administrators, we follow the process of our policy and immediately investigate the alleged incidents. The privacy of all parties and witnesses to complaints will be respected in accordance with federal and state law."
The video went viral, even catching Donald Trump Jr.'s attention.
Trump Jr. called Jones incredibly brave on Twitter.
"This boy is incredibly brave and the video really got to me. @danawhite, if he takes you up on your offer to see UFC Headquarters, I would be honored to host him and his family at our place if they need somewhere to stay."
Lee Unkrich, the director of Toy Story 3 and Coco, invited Jones to tour Pixar studios. In a post on Twitter, Unkrich said that Jones has an open invitation.
".@Lakyn_jones Hi! I directed Coco and Toy Story 3. If Keaton ever wants to visit Pixar, he has an open invitation!"
One of the first people to spend the day with Jones since the heartbreaking video was posted was Jarrett Guarantano, quarterback for the Vols.
In a post to his twitter account, Guarantano said Keaton is very special and changed his life forever. He added he got the little brother he always wanted.
The Vol tweeted,"So I got the chance to spend the day with my new best bud Keaton. It was unbelievable to get to know him and realize that we have a lot in common. This dude is very special and has changed my life forever. Now I have the little brother I always wanted! God bless you my man."
Vols wide receiver, Tyler Byrd, also let Keaton know he's joining his fight against bullies.
"We going to the middle school next Tuesday show young Man some love we will also TWITTER LIVE some of it so everyone can show there love and support #vols #StopBullying"
Later on Saturday, Titans tight end Delanie Walker tweeted in support of Keaton, saying in a video that he has four tickets for Keaton and his family to take in a game on New Year's Eve.
"hopefully my video and the tweets that Keaton have been getting brings awareness to bullying and how serious it is in our school system."
County superstar Kelsea Ballerini sent a tweet in support of Keaton too, saying that the next time she visits Knoxville she wants to "walk into that lunchroom with (him) and watch those bullies say they are sorry."
More big names have spoken out against bullying as well. Rappers like Snoop Dog and UFC fighter Dana White publicly sent support to Keaton, wanting him to know he's not alone with his struggle.
Journalists also took to twitter stating they will tackled Keaton's bullying problem.
Tennessee lawmakers also weighed in on Jones' bully problems.
Jones said the support is overwhelming, but he finds comfort in knowing his story is making a difference.