A mother’s heart wrenching social media post about her son’s depression and a severe eating disorder has gone viral.
Deirdre O’Brien of Garden City, New York, said that her 13-year-old son Liam developed the conditions as a result of merciless bullying he was forced to endure everyday at school.
By Wednesday, the post had already garnered thousands of shares and reactions on Facebook, quickly going viral over the Internet.
Deirdre O’Brien (right) of Garden City, New York, said that her 13-year-old son Liam developed an eating disorder and depression
Deirdre O’Brien says that constant bullying at her son’s school for over the past year led to conditions
‘My beautiful son Liam turned 13 years old on September 8,’ she wrote.
‘He should be in school with his friends getting excited about high school and playing soccer, but he is not. He is at a medical center in Princeton NJ being treated for depression and an eating disorder.’
O’Brien claims that her son endured constant harassment at Garden City Middle School and on the soccer field during seventh and eighth grades, according to NBC News 4.
‘He was bullied all year he said he was told that he sucked st soccer, didn’t deserve to make the team. He said, ‘Every day mom, every day.’ It just broke him,’ she recalled in the post.
The post has already racked up thousands of reactions and shares on Facebook, inspiring a hashtag: #WeStandWithLiam
An investigation by the school determined that Liam’s complaints were ‘unfounded,’ according to Deirdre O’Brien, who told her that Liam’s ‘perception may have been different from reality.’
Keith O’Brien, Liam’s father, told ABC News that he hopes his the post will help parents and children facing the same difficulties.
‘Maybe it will protect another child in the future, just by raising the awareness,’ Keith O’Brien said.
‘If we can’t protect our children, then we’ve failed as a society, as parents, its just awful,’ he added.
Deirdre and Keith O’Brien said that they began to notice Liam’s behavior changing towards the end of the last school semester, withdrawing away from his friends and social events in favor of being with his parents.
He even returned his cellphone to his mother, describing his iPhone as ‘too much drama.’
‘He started to withdraw, he did not socialize with any friends anymore,’ Keith O’Brien said. ‘He just wanted to be with me and his mom.’
Deirdre and Keith O’Brien said that they began to notice Liam’s behavior changing towards the end of the last school semester (Pictured: The O’Brien family)
As the new 8th grade school year approached, Liam became more withdrawn, and began to say things like ‘I don’t want to go back to school’ or ‘I hate that school,’ according to his farther.
‘I also noticed that he used to have a tremendous appetite, he would eat two breakfasts in the morning,’ Keith O’Brien said. ‘Then all of a sudden he stopped eating.’
‘We got incredibly concerned, so we took him to his pediatrician, and she measured his heart rate.’
Shortly thereafter, Keith continued, he was admitted to a children’s hospital for an eating disorder where he stayed for 8 days.
That’s when the O’Briens contacted the school’s guidance counselor, seeking assurances that faculty members would ‘look after him.’
‘He started school on the Tuesday, and his birthday was that Friday, September, 8, and that day he came home, and he had a big bruise on his face,’ Keith O’Brien said. ‘We asked him what happened, he said, ‘Oh, I tripped, I fell down the stairs.”
Liam has been in the hospital since September 13 and doctors can’t say when he’ll be able to return home
‘Then Sunday, the night before he was supposed to go back to school, he kind of broke down and was crying, and said, ‘I don’t want to go back to school,”’ he added.
Finally, according to Deirdre O’Brien’s post, Liam admitted that he was being severely bullied over the past year.
‘He was told he was weird, he was fat, his freckles were weird, his eyebrows were weird,’ Diedre O’Brien wrote, with the bullies using ‘horrible language and called him nasty words.’
On September 13, Liam was taken to Cohen Children’s Medical Center, and was later transferred to the Princeton Medical Center in Princeton, New Jersey, according to ABC News.
‘Basically the diagnosis was eating disorder and depression that was brought on by continuous bullying,’ Keith O’Brien said.
In response, Garden City Public Schools said in statement that it was ‘deeply saddened’ to hear of the bullying Liam endured over the past year.
According to Diedre O’Brien, Garden City Middle School said that Liam’s claims of bullying were unfounded and that his ‘perception may have been different from reality’
‘No child,’ the statement continued, ‘should ever be reluctant to come to school for fear of personal or emotional safety. Our first priority is to ensure the safety of every one of our students.’
The O’Briens are still weighing the possibility of taking legal action against the school district
‘We are jointly attempting to further improve upon the resources and programs available to move toward the elimination of all forms of bullying in our schools as quickly as possible,’ the school district added.
Keith O’Brien says that Liam ‘has good days and bad days,’ and is still struggling to deal with the mental and emotional scars he’s been left with.
‘The doctors have not given us any kind of timeline to when he can come home,’ he added.
The O’Briens are still weighing the possibility of taking legal action against the school district, and are thankful to their neighbors and wider community for their support during such a tumultuous time.
‘It’s been nothing short of really almost miraculous,’ Keith O’Brien said. ‘When something like this happens, you always think the worst, but I’ve realized how many good people there really are still out there.’
The hashtag #WeStandWithLiam has also gained traction over the past several days, with many speaking out against the horrors of bullying.