Quaden Bayles told his supporters to keep their chin up in an interview with National Indigenous Television (NITV).
“If you get bullied, just stand up for yourself and don’t listen to what they say,” he said on Friday.
Quaden said it was up to parents to teach their children how to behave towards others.
“The parents should make their kids be nice to people with disabilities,” he said.
‘If you get bullied, stand up for yourself’ (NITV)
The mum of Quaden Bayles has shared a video saying the outpouring of worldwide support for her son has been phenomenal.
The nine-year-old was diagnosed with achondroplasia – the most common form of dwarfism – three days after he was born, and has long suffered at the hands of bullies and online trolls.
He won and broke hearts in equal measures around Australia this week when his mum shared devastating footage of Quaden after picking him up from school “in hysterics”.
His mum, Yarraka Bayles – a long-time advocate for indigenous issues and dwarfism – said Quaden has spoken out because he doesn’t want others to have to suffer.
“He doesn’t want other kids to be suffering in silence and he doesn’t want other kids to suffer. He sees how it affects us as a family and other peoples as well that have reached out.”
“If you’re indigenous you are already copping discrimination and racism. Here we have a child, an indigenous child with a disability. So he’s copping it from every angle.”
Yesterday, Ms Bayles shared an emotional video of Quaden with message to the children who have been bullying her disabled son for years – and the heartbreaking clip has since garnered widespread attention around the world.
“I’ve just picked my son up from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people to know – parents, educators, teachers – this is the effect that bullying has,” Ms Bayles from Brisbane said in the video, which has been viewed 10 million times and shared by more than 200,000 people.
In tears, Quaden says, “Give me a knife – I want to kill myself,” adding, “I just want to die right now.”
“This is the impact that bullying has on a nine-year-old kid that just wants to go to school, get an education and have fun,” Ms Bayles said.
“But every single freaking day, something happens. Another episode, another bullying, another taunt, another name-calling.”
She then tearfully asks if any parents or families have advice for how to further raise disability awareness and education within schools so “this doesn’t happen”.
“I’ve got some good advice – but I need more because this is the effect of bullying, this is what it’s doing. And I want people to know how much it is hurting us as a family, I want people to educate their children.
“I’ve got a son that is suicidal almost every single day. Every time there is a triggering – anything that happens at school or while we’re in public, which is almost every time we’re in public.”
Ms Bayles said she felt “helpless” seeing her son’s struggle.
“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 told NITV.
“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’.”
“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.”
In a second video, shared to Facebook on Friday morning, Ms Bayles explained her son is “sick” of being called “baby”.
While the video was originally filmed in 2016 when he was just five-years-old, Ms Bayles explained everything he said still applied.
“Quaden is turning 10 this year and this is the same message he wants people to hear because he is sick of being called a baby (amongst other names) and people trying to pick him up and treat him like a baby and people trying to pick him up and treat him like a baby,” Ms Bayles wrote.
In the short clip, Quaden begs to be left alone. ”Why do you call me baby every single day?” he says. “He’s not a baby, he’s five years old so shut up.”
Ms Bayles goes on to ask Quaden, “what What else do people call you that you don’t like?” explaining it was important because, “we need people to know because it’s very serious.”
“I don’t want them to call me bubba, baby or cute,” Quaden says, looking directly into the camera. “I’m not a boy.”
Since the video went viral a raft of people have been expressing their support for the family and a hashtag #IStandWithQuaden has been started.
Designer Josh Yasserie created a moving illustration of Quaden which has been shared by his family as well as Rugby League stars and the wider indigenous community.
NRL star Latrell Mitchell and the indigenous All Stars have extended an invitation to Quaden to lead the team onto CBUS Stadium on Saturday night.
Ms Bayles told Quest Community News in 2019 that she first walked in on her son trying to take his own life when he was just six-years-old, which is when he began saying that he wished he were dead.
Every time that there was a new child at school unaware of Quaden’s condition, bullying usually resulted, she said, with students calling him names and “obviously pointing out his difference”.
“So we now we have a very severely suicidal child, who is sick of the bullying that it is every single day that he attends school or is in public, and we’re sick of it,” Ms Bayles said.
“I just want people to know, and see the impact, because this could be your child or your child could be the bully that pushes a kid over the edge. And God forbid, we lose another child to suicide because of the bullying.”
Ms Bayles said that while she used to tell her son to “just ignore it”, from now on every time she was bullied she would be sharing a similar video.
“Hopefully we can make some changes, so that this doesn’t happen to another family and hopefully we don’t lose another young, innocent life to bullying.”
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