Mom who posted video of bullied son denies being racist

Mom who posted video of bullied son denies being racist

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee woman who posted a video of her tearful son recounting being bullied at school has appeared on national media outlets to deflect accusations of racism.

Kimberly Jones told Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday that a photo of her family with a Confederate flag posted on social media was real, but that it didn’t make her a racist.

The photo surfaced Monday, three days after Jones posted video of her son, Keaton, crying as he described being bullied at an East Tennessee middle school. 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 by Sunday and prompted an outpouring of support from celebrities including actor Chris Evans, Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker, University of Tennessee wide receiver Tyler Byrd, retired race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and singers Snoop Dog and Katy Perry.

The video also led to scrutiny of Kimberly Jones’ social media accounts, including a post showing a photograph of her and relatives with a Confederate flag and an American flag that prompted a backlash online.

“I feel like anybody who wants to take the time to ask anybody who I am or even troll through some other pictures, I mean I feel like we’re not racist,” Jones told ABC News. “(The photo) was meant to be ironic and funny and extreme.”

She added, “I am genuinely, truly sorry. If I could take it back I would.”

“I’ve said I spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn’t racist,” Jones told CBS News.

In a statement to media, the Tennessee school district where Keaton is a student said bullying isn’t allowed.

“We must provide an academic environment that is safe, civil and supportive,” Union County Public Schools director James Carter said in the statement. “We do not and will not tolerate bullying and have a policy in place” that addresses it.

Principal Greg Clay, at Horace Maynard Middle School where the boy is enrolled, said he wasn’t aware of Jones being repeatedly bullied. He added that the incident described in the video had been resolved weeks ago.

“It’s not as rampant as the video would have you believe,” Clay said. “I can’t tell you what was done, but I can tell you action was taken with the children.”

On Tuesday, Keaton was visiting the University of Tennessee campus. Tennessee football player Tyler Byrd tweeted a photo showing the boy shaking hands with Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer.

bullying

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer County has three new confirmed COVID-19 cases

The provincial government has confirmed three new COVID-19 cases in Red Deer… Continue reading

Rimbey textile artists creating hand-made masks

Group has also been helped out by a local business

People ‘can count on’ Alberta RCMP amid COVID-19 pandemic, says deputy commissioner

Albertans “can count on the RCMP every day” during the COVID-19 pandemic,… Continue reading

Central Albertans win big in 2020 STARS Lottery

A few central Albertans won big in the 2020 STARS lottery. Jeff… Continue reading

107 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, 5 additional deaths

More than 1,000 cases in Alberta total

WATCH: Red Deer emergency call centre hours change starting next week

Hours at the City of Red Deer’s COVID-19 emergency call centre will… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Taste of home schooling generating new interest among parents

Selena Valencia is on the fence when it comes to home-schooling her… Continue reading

‘The Charter still applies’: Canadians urged to monitor civil liberties during pandemic

Civil rights advocates say citizens need to be vigilant about how authorities are using new powers

Essential workers talk about how COVID-19 affects them

Health-care workers, grocery store staff, transit drivers and food delivery workers are… Continue reading

Sister of woman found dead last month is accused of first-degree murder

/COQUITLAM, B.C. — A first-degree murder charge has been laid against the… Continue reading

Trudeau announces more financial help for country’s most vulnerable

$40 million will go to Women and Gender Equality Canada

Most Read