UPDATE: Union Co. Board of Education Director of Schools releases statement about Keaton Jones' viral video
An East Tennessee boy whose mother shared the effect of bullying in a heartbreaking video has found support from around the world.
UPDATE: The Union County Board of Education Director of Schools released a statement Monday about the video.
Director James E. Carter said:
"To fulfill our mission of educating all children in Union County Public Schools, we must provide an academic environment that is safe, civil and supportive. We do not and will not tolerate bullying and have a policy in place that addresses conduct taking place on school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided transportation or at any official school bus stop. With any incident of bullying that is reported to our administrators, we follow the process of our policy and immediately investigate the alleged incidents. The privacy of all parties and witnesses to complaints will be respected in accordance with federal and state law."
PREVIOUS STORY: More celebrities are reaching out to Keaton Jones to show him their love and support.
Keaton has received multiple invitations to attend film premieres and workout with United Fighting Championship (UFC) fighters.
Both Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo have invited Jones to attend next year's Avenger's Infinity War premiere with them.
Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year? https://t.co/s1QwCQ3toi— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 10, 2017
Knoxville native and UFC lightweight fighter Scott Holtzman has also reached out to Jones and invited the young man to train with him when he returns home to Knoxville.
Holtzman is not the only UFC fighter to reach out to Jones, though. The UFC released a video on Twitter where multiple fighters shared their love and support for Jones.
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit also reached out to Jones and has asked Jones to be his guest at the National Championship in Atlanta. Originally, Herbstreit had invited Jones to attend an upcoming College Gameday, but later decided to invite him to see the top two college football teams in the country compete too.
PREVIOUS STORY: An East Tennessee boy whose mother shared the effect of bullying in a heartbreaking video has found support from the Tennessee sports world.
Keaton Jones asked his mother to post a video of him to Facebook after he was being bullied at school.
The video immediately went viral and caught the eye of several Vols football players and the Tennessee Titans.
Vols sophomore wide receiver Tyler Byrd told Keaton that him and his teammates would visit him at school this Tuesday.
Titans tight end Delanie Walker also posted a video supporting Keaton, and even invited him to Tennessee's game vs. Jacksonville.
Hailee Steinfeld posted a video on Twitter, inviting Keaton to be her date for the opening of the movie "Pitch Perfect 3."
So I got the chance to spend the day with my new best bud Keaton. It was unbelievable to get to know him and realize that we have a lot in common. This dude is very special and has changed my life forever. Now I have the little brother I always wanted! God bless you my man pic.twitter.com/vMHVtnf2rC— Jarrett Guarantano? (@BroadwayJay2) December 11, 2017
A Tennessee woman's video of her tearful son recounting being bullied at middle school has prompted a wave of support from athletes and entertainers.
Kimberly Jones said in a Facebook post Friday she had just picked up her son, Keaton, from school because he was too afraid to go to lunch.
In the video, Keaton said other students call him ugly, make fun of his nose and tell him he has no friends. He said milk was poured on him and ham was put down his clothes.
"Just out of curiosity, why do they bully?" Keaton said. "What's the point of it? Why do they find joy in taking innocent people and find a way to be mean to them? It's not OK.
"People that are different don't need to be criticized about it. It's not their fault. If you are made fun of, just don't let it bother you."
The video had more than 18 million views as of Sunday, and a crowdsourcing page for Keaton's future education had raised more than $29,000.
"We all know how it feels to want to belong," Jones said in her post, "but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere."
On Twitter, Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker invited the Jones family to an upcoming game, while University of Tennessee wide receiver Tyler Byrd said he and several teammates plan to visit Keaton at school.
Country music star Kelsea Ballerini tweeted that the next time she comes home to her native Knoxville, she wants to be with Keaton to witness the bullies apologize.
Retired race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on Twitter he wants Keaton to "add me to your long list of friends," and Snoop Dogg said on Instagram that Keaton "has a friend for life" and that "love is the only way to beat hate."