Lakeland boy battles back against bullying - WNCN: News, Weather

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

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:28 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:28:18 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Squatters moving out of New Port Richey soldier's home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:28 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:28:18 GMT
    Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.Squatters begin moving out of Spc. Michael Sharkey's home on Wednesday night.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out. 
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community and now, the squatters are moving out.  
  • Bollywood Oscars kickoff with huge party

    Bollywood Oscars kickoff with huge party

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:23 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:23:09 GMT
    IIFA star Anil Kapoor is surrounded by fans at the IIFA Stomp event at Tampa's Curtis Hixon ParkIIFA star Anil Kapoor is surrounded by fans at the IIFA Stomp event at Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park
    The International Indian Film Academy kicked off the countdown to its version of the Oscars with a music festival in downtown Tampa.
    The International Indian Film Academy kicked off the countdown to its version of the Oscars with a music festival in downtown Tampa.
  • SKorea ferry toll hits 159 as relatives wait

    SKorea ferry toll hits 159 as relatives wait

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:44:38 GMT
    The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly Wednesday, with the official death toll reaching 150, though a government official said divers must now rip through cabin...
    Divers made their way deeper Thursday into the submerged wreck of a ferry that sank more than a week ago as the death toll neared 160 and relatives of the more than 140 still missing pressed the government to finish the...
  • 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>>

  • Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Woman claims pedicure crossed the line

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-04-23 03:45:39 GMT
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
    A Shreveport woman said a nail tech from Style Nails in Shreveport crossed the line during a pedicure, and that she has cell phone video to prove it.
  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Search halted for missing Gaboon Viper

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:08:20 GMT
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
    The missing viper could still be out there, but the search has been halted for safety concerns.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

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