Eight-year-old Jackson Bezzant, from Rigby, Idaho, suffers from Treacher Collins syndrome, a condition that affects 1 in 50,000 people. Due to this, the bones and tissues of Jackson’s face have not formed properly. He only has very limited hearing and has to rely on hearing aids, while one of his eye-sockets has been rebuilt.
One day in September 2017, the little boy was enjoying his breakfast at the school cafeteria, when suddenly three older boys started to taunt him, calling him “ugly” and “monster.”
A member of staff intervened before things got too ugly, and when his dad, Dan Bezzant, was told of the incident, he tearfully decided to do something about it.
However, it is not just the kids at school who taunt him; even adults have been heard to throw insulting comments his way. “One time, a woman walked past us, and we could hear her say, ‘Did you see that little boy’s face?’ If she’s saying things like that, what are her children saying?’” Dan told EastIdahoNews.com.
Disappointed by the bullying his son had to go through, the devastated father posted a plea on Facebook on Sept. 15, 2017, with no idea of the social storm it would create.
"My heart is in pieces right now…"Dan Bezzant posted this about his son:My soul feels like it's ripping from my…
Apparently, the boy had even talked of suicide because of the way he had been treated. The mental trauma this child underwent could have been prevented if those around him were kindhearted and supportive. Jackson has not only endured the bullying but still has to endure many painful facial surgeries that he will undergo as he grows.
The devastated father appealed to other parents to teach their children about love and compassion instead of allowing them to bully those who are different.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 21, 2017
The post got right to the heart of the matter and will go a long way in helping parents to educate their children about being compassionate to others, and perhaps stop and think before they shatter the lives of others with their bullying.
No doubt Jackson’s story made a huge impact on people. In 2018, a photographer named Josh Rossi started a superhero project after coming across Dan’s video about Jackson’s condition. “As I was watching, I felt as though he were speaking directly to me,” Rossi wrote. “I immediately messaged him on social media and told him I was doing a new project on bullying and wanted his son to be part of it.”
— People (@people) September 19, 2017
Apparently, at that time, he and his wife, Roxana, had just watched Avengers: Infinity Wars, and they decided to bring “bullied kids together to provide a platform where their voices could be heard.” So the photographer and digital artist partnered with Vero to create “The Avengers of Bullying,” a photo series dedicated to those kids who experience bullying.
For the photoshoot, Jackson donned a Captain America outfit and struck a powerful pose. The boy looks like he is at war and ready to fight his ultimate enemies, the bullies.
According to CNN, the photographer’s mission was straightforward, “as we accept people’s differences, then it will become the norm.”
In December 2018, Jackson even received a letter from an engineer at NASA, who was touched by his story and wrote, “Please Don’t Give Up! Go out there and be a world changer.”
We hope that more kids don’t face the fate of bullying as Jackson did. Together, we can strive towards a more compassionate world.