When Jake, a high school junior with autism, was younger he became fed up with how bullies were treating him. So, he boldly stood in front of his gym class one day and let his peers know exactly how he felt about being routinely ignored and mistreated.
His impassioned speech, which has been called “one of the bravest, most honorable things” by the Bully Project, a group that works to target bullying and harassment across the nation, is now going viral, though it is unclear when the clip was originally captured.
“I just think that … really I don’t think you guys see me for me,” Jake said as he boldly stood before his peers. “I think really you guys see me as a big target, ’cause like you guys are always like leaving me out of stuff — like never paying attention to me or anything I say.”
And he wasn’t done there. Jake continued, asking the kids to get to know him and to try and be his friend.
“I try to be your friend, but you don’t try to be mine,” he continued. “And that really makes me feel kind of bad that you guys don’t really want to know me.”
At that point in his speech, Jake noticed some of the boys in the gym laughing at him — and he wasted no time in calling them out.
“I see you guys laughing over there,” he said.
Watch Jake’s candid comments below:
Perhaps the young boy’s speech made an impact, as Jake told Upworthy in a recent interview that his life has changed since the video was captured by the Bully Project.
“Bullying has had a big impact on my life, but since the movie I’ve made a lot of friends. Recently, I have joined my high school football team,” he said. “At first I thought they would all be complete jerks, but actually they are pretty cool guys and have helped me through a lot of situations — they stand up for me!”
Jake even had some advice for other kids with autism who are targeted by bullies, telling them to tell their peers to stop and not to react. If that doesn’t work, he recommended going to an adult for help.
(H/T: Huffington Post)