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Bullied kid Keaton Jones deserves school choice

The heartbreaking video of bullied middle-school student Keaton Jones has gone viral. If you haven’t done so, watch it.

I suspect that the bullying at Horace Maynard Middle School near Knoxville, TN is not as rampant as some may believe.  Nevertheless, that does not mean that it’s acceptable to allow Keaton to remain in an environment that appears to be psychologically, physically, and academically harmful.  Why not give him an opportunity to leave Horace Maynard and receive an education without the threat of persistent harassment?

Bullied students in states with school choice programs are the fortunate ones.  In an Orlando Sentinel op-ed titled, “A scholarship saved my bullied daughter,” Elsi Greciano writes,

When Maria’s classes went on field trips, nobody sat with her on the bus. Instead they would attack her. “You talk weird.” “You look funny.” “You’re disgusting.” One time, her classmates tricked her into hiding in a cabinet, then left for recess without her. I kept hoping things would get better, but in sixth grade, they got even worse.

In the end, the only thing that made it better was going to another school — a private school that my husband and I would have never been able to afford without a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship.

Greciano says that the scholarship has made all the difference for her daughter, who is thriving in a private, arts-focused school and learns along classmates who treat her with respect.

Isn’t it immoral to deny Keaton the same kinds of life-changing opportunities that Maria and her family enjoyed?

Terry Stoops / Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies

Terry Stoops is the Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the progra...

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