Lakeland boy battles back against bullying - WRBL

Lakeland boy battles back against bullying

Posted: Updated:
Jaylen Arnold. Image courtesy jaylenschallenge.org Jaylen Arnold. Image courtesy jaylenschallenge.org
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

Jaylen Arnold is only 13 years old but already he's an activist battling bullying. Jaylen and his mom created an organization called Jaylen's Challenge that's sole mission is to end bullying.

"I describe it as a big anti-bullying awareness," Jaylen explained.

Jaylen suffered bullying himself four years ago. He has complex tourettes, a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable physical and verbal tics, and some of the kids in his second grade class targeted him for the disorder - mocking and teasing him relentlessly.

"I was never punched or kicked, but to me verbal is the worst because verbal can stay in somebody's head," he said.

Robin Eckelberger is Jaylen's mom. She says she transferred Jaylen to a different school where he no longer faced the bullying, but he decided then he wanted to become a crusader.

He didn't want anybody else to experience what he experienced, and he has a soft heart, and he wants to help others, and that's his gift. That's his purpose," Eckelberger said.

And so, Jaylen's Challenge was born. Now Jaylen travels to schools all over delivering his anti-bullying message. "A lot of people will tease their friends. Like, I tease my friends but not to a point where it goes too far," Jaylen explained.

The recent case involving 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who took her own life after enduring months of cyber bullying, hit Jaylen especially hard.

"I mean that's a horrible thing. I want the bullies to know it's not okay. I mean imagine if this was being done to you," Jaylen said.

Jaylen's Challenge has lots of resources for parents, teachers and kids to help stop the cycle of bullying. Jaylen is hopeful more kids will tap into those resources and join his campaign.

"It's all something you have to work through. It's a big obstacle course, and we can all do it together. Nobody said you have to be alone during all of this," he said.

Jaylen has appeared on every national network promoting his anti-bullying program. Next month, which is National Bully Prevention Month, he'll appear on a special on CNN.

Sign up for free breaking news and headline email alerts http://8.wfla.com/18DCEqk

  • NewsMore>>

  • Largo police say fight led to death

    Largo police say fight led to death

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:16 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:16:34 GMT
    Largo Police are investigating a death after being called to the scene of a fight at the Royal Pine Condominiums at 4500 East Bay Drive at 5:38 p.m.
    Largo Police are investigating a death after being called to the scene of a fight at the Royal Pine Condominiums at 4500 East Bay Drive at 5:38 p.m.
  • Youth soccer coach in Manatee accused of sex abuse

    Youth soccer coach in Manatee accused of sex abuse

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:21 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:21:26 GMT
    Gabriel Gallardo booking photoGabriel Gallardo booking photo
    A youth soccer coach in Manatee County has been charged with forced fondling and capital sexual battery on a young girl.
    A youth soccer coach in Manatee County has been charged with forced fondling and capital sexual battery on a young girl.
  • Manatee massage therapist rejects plea in groping case

    Manatee massage therapist rejects plea in groping case

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:57 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:57:05 GMT
    Kevin Holmes Kevin Holmes
    Kevin Holmes knew the nearly naked woman on his massage table last March was an off-duty detective.
    Kevin Holmes knew the nearly naked woman on his massage table last March was an off-duty detective.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:56:27 GMT
    YouTube imageYouTube image
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
  • Tumors removed from sea turtle

    Tumors removed from sea turtle

    Friday, July 25 2014 2:30 PM EDT2014-07-25 18:30:33 GMT
    "Before" photo of Mack on 5/28"Before" photo of Mack on 5/28
    Five surgeries at the Turtle Hospital and a trip to the veterinary ophthalmologist in Miami to remove tumors from his cornea and Mack has a reason to smile.
    Five surgeries at the Turtle Hospital and a trip to the veterinary ophthalmologist in Miami to remove tumors from his cornea and Mack has a reason to smile.
  • 'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    Monday, July 21 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:37:35 GMT
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.