Last week, we wrote about a popular video clip involving Casey
Australian student who retaliated after being bullied by 12-year-old Ritchard
Gale. The video struck a chord with many across the globe and went viral, being
viewed by millions in the process. We covered the story on our site because of
the inordinate number of children with autism who are bullied on a daily basis
and felt the need to shed additional light on this growing epidemic that
currently exists in schools.
On Sunday, A Current Affair (ACA) Australia, aired a fascinating in-depth interview with Casey Heynes (posted below) that gave the back-story that led up to the on-camera bullying episode and subsequent retaliation.
In the ACA segment, Heynes describes a chronic pattern of abuse that occurred "practically every day." Some of his torment included being called "fatty," taking slaps across the back of the head, being tripped and bombarded with water bombs at school. The bullying began all the way back in the second grade and continued until the day Heynes’ incident was caught on camera. The harassment was so severe, Heynes describes how he considered suicide as recently as last year. "Bullycide" as it is called, has become a major problem among teens who are tormented to the point of taking their own lives.
As a parent of a child with autism, these bullying stories are extremely upsetting and much more needs to be done to address this seemingly out-of-control problem.
If there is any silver lining to the Casey Heynes incident, it has brought significant attention to bullying in schools and will give further ammunition to those seeking legislative changes to address the epidemic. In fact, as we reported the other day, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier will soon be introducing legislation that addresses bullying against special needs students.
The video below is a great testimony of how a single incident can change the course of how the public perceives a particular issue and the good that can come from it. In fact, the Casey Heynes story may be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, providing a catalyst for significant change to help finally protect our children from bullies once and for all.