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Support for victim is great, but more must be done to stop bullying

By now, at least if you are active at all on social media websites like Facebook or Twitter, you’ve likely seen a viral video of a middle-school boy from Tennessee tearfully recounting how he has been bullied at school.

The video, which has been viewed more than 18 million times as of this writing, has drawn support for Keaton Jones, the boy in the video, from athletes and celebrities across the country — names like newly-retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., rapper Snoop Dogg, country music singer Kelsea Ballerini and Delanie Walker, professional football player for the nearby Tennessee Titans, Captain America Chris Evans, just to name a few.

And while the outpouring of well wishes and reassurance is heartwarming to say the least, more, obviously, needs to be done to change the culture around bullying everywhere.

First and foremost, the parents of bullies need to be aware of what their child is doing and put a stop to it. Parents need to make it clear that bullying is not “cool” and it does not mean that the bully is tough. In fact, bullying usually indicates exactly the opposite — that the bully is scared and must overcompensate for that fact by scaring, embarrassing or hurting others.

Secondly, those in charge of our schools need to constantly be diligent in searching for signs of bullying. Part of the control bullies have over their victims is the fear of what will happen if the victim turns the bully in. Chances are, bullies are going to need to be caught in the act to bring them to justice and that only happens when the adults in charge are being diligent.

Additionally, bullies need to be swiftly and severely punished, including possible expulsion from school. Schools need to make it abundantly clear that there is zero tolerance for this type of behavior and that those who engage in it are not welcome there. No child should have to fear coming to school.

Social media has proven time and again to be an immensely powerful force for both good and evil.

We hope this video causes those who run the school Keaton attends to identify the bullies and ensure they will never do this to Keaton or anyone else ever again.

But we also hope that schools everywhere will view this video and see Keaton as one of countless faces — real children — who live through this personal hell every day in virtually every school in America and vow to do better for children everywhere.

In what has to be a first for this editorial page, we feel Snoop Dogg said it best when in his message to Keaton, he wrote “love is the only way to beat hate.”

For shizzle, Snoop.

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