An Idaho father felt “destroyed” when he learned his son was branded a “monster” at school. The distraught dad finally decided enough was enough and set out to teach his boy’s tormentors a lesson.
Jackson Bezzant was eating breakfast in the school cafeteria when he was approached by three older boys, who began taunting and teasing him. As he was called a “monster” and “ugly,” the first-grader from Rigby, Idaho, sat there, helplessly being bullied until a teacher’s aide finally took notice and stopped the cruel torment before it escalated further. Things were far from over, however.
When Jackson’s father heard what had happened to his son, it brought the tough dad to tears. Unfortunately, Dan Bezzant’s kindhearted boy had been ridiculed a lot, all because of his appearance. This certainly wasn’t the first time Jackson had been bullied, but Dan was determined to make it the last. Enough was enough, and the dad was about to make sure all of his son’s tormentors got that message.
Jackson was born with Treacher Collins syndrome and his appearance often garnered negative attention. The rare condition affects the development of bones and facial tissues, causing improper development and visible deformity. Because of it, both Jackson’s vision and hearing are severely impaired. He relies on hearing aids and has even had surgery to rebuild his eye socket. Sadly, he will have to undergo many more procedures throughout his life.
To say he goes through enough because of his condition is a bit of an understatement. But, it’s the bullying that is the worst since it is completely unnecessary and preventable. Still, Jackson has endured rude remarks from people of all ages, and it’s often adults who are the cruelest. “One time, a woman walked past us, and we could hear her say, ‘Did you see that little boy’s face?'” Dan recalled. “If she’s saying things like that, what are her children saying?”
When the devastated dad decided to take a stand for his son, he never imagined the reaction his efforts would receive. He took to Facebook with a powerful, gutwrenching, and even frightening public post. Teaching everyone a thing or two about bullying, Dan’s words quickly spread like wildfire as readers realized how desperately his lesson was needed.
“My heart is in pieces right now and my soul feels like its ripping from my chest,” Dan began, according to People Magazine. “This beautiful young man, my son Jackson, has to endure a constant barrage of derogatory comments and ignorance like I’ve never witnessed. He is called ugly and freak and monster on a daily basis by his peers at school.”
“He talks about suicide and he’s not quite 8!” Dan said, admitting bullying was taking its toll. “He says he has no friends and everyone hates him. Kids throw rocks at him and push him shouting these horrific words,” the dad, feeling destroyed, continued. “Please, please take a minute and imagine if this were your child. Take a minute to educate your children about special needs. Talk to them about compassion and love for our fellow man,” Dan pleaded with other parents reading his post, hoping to make a difference for Jackson and others like him.
“His condition is called Treacher Collins. Maybe even look it up. He’s endured horrific surgery and has several more in the coming years,” Dan added. “Please educate your children,” he said again, reiterating the importance of talking to our kids about things they might not initially understand. He concluded by asking readers to “share” Jackson’s story because “this shouldn’t be happening to anyone.”
While some might condemn the school or even the teachers for the bullying Jackson received, Dan doesn’t blame them and he doesn’t want others to either. Instead, he wants to lay the blame where the responsibility belongs, and that’s with the parents who need to teach their children kindness, compassion, and acceptance. “I want parents to see my post and feel my heart break,” Dan said. “Please educate your children and let them know that bullying is not OK.”
After reading Dan’s post, kids at Jackson’s school reached out to him and his family, wanting to befriend and protect the boy. Kids are curious, and sometimes, that curiosity turns into cruelty when they don’t understand what they are seeing. A lot of bullying is likely unintentional as children comment on what they observe without an awareness of the reality behind it or how they might make others feel. But, as Dan proved, a little education can end a lot of torment.