Growing up is not easy for anyone. It is especially hard when you are the target of bullies. This mom noticed something different about her son at his 13th birthday dinner. She investigated further, and realized that her son’s “friends” at school had been bullying him so badly, they were making him sick. This is Liam O’Brian’s story. (1)
Kids Bullied So Badly That The Bullies Were Making Him Sick
In 2017, At the beginning of seventh grade, Liam O’Brian’s mom Deirdre described her son as a happy kid. He enjoyed school, had plenty of friends, and was excelling at soccer. Then slowly, her son began to change. He stopped paying attention to his phone, something that he used to spend a lot of time on. He was losing interest in soccer. Nearing the end of the summer holidays, he said he didn’t want to go back to school and that he hated it.
“He started to withdraw, he did not socialize with any friends anymore,” Keith O’Brien, his father, said. “He just wanted to be with me and his mom.”
Finally, at his 13th birthday dinner, Deirdre and her husband noticed that Liam was barely eating. He also had gotten rather thin. They took him to see the doctor. After the examination, the doctor sent him to an eating disorder clinic just before starting the eighth grade, where he stayed for eight days. They then requested that the school guidance counselor keep an eye on him.
Just a few days after starting school, Liam came home with a giant bruise on his face. He told his parents he had tripped and fallen down the stairs. Finally, however, that weekend, he broke down and admitted to his parents what was really going on. The kids at school were brutally bullying him, and it was making him sick.
“He was told he was weird, he was fat, his freckles were weird, his eyebrows were weird,” Deirdre O’Brien added, saying the bullies “used horrible language and called him nasty words,”
His bullies also physically assaulted him – kicking, punching, and pushing him. They also told him he was a terrible soccer player and that he didn’t deserve to be on the team. What’s worse, is that the school did absolutely nothing about it. Liam was so skinny, he was hospitalized and hooked up to a feeding tube to stabilize his heart and vitals.
“We’re learning ourselves what he’s gone through. It’s left a really big scar on him mentally and emotionally.” said his father. “The doctors have not given us any kind of timeline to when he can come home,”
We Stand With Liam
Deirdre posted about her son’s experience on Facebook to hopefully make parents more aware of the signs that their child might be being bullied and not telling them. Her hope is that their family’s story can maybe help protect other kids in the future. Meanwhile, she says that more needs to be done in the schools to protect students from this kind of abuse.
Her Facebook post very quickly gained traction, and now their entire community has rallied behind Liam. They are using the hashtag #WeStandWithLiam to express their support and speak out against this kind of bullying. They have also put posters and pink ribbons around the city with the hashtag on them. (2)
Naturally, the O’Brian’s first priority is the health and wellbeing of their son. They are grateful for the support he has received from their community, and they certainly hope that this will further push forward the anti-bullying movement. They also hope that this will wake up schools and school boards to the fact that bullying is still going on, even if the staff doesn’t see it. There need to be more resources in place for kids, as well as more education on the signs of bullying so that it is caught and dealt with much earlier. This is important for both parents and teachers.