WEST FRANKFORT, IL (KFVS) - It's a problem that affects millions of students every day. Studies show one out of four kids is bullied. But one West Frankfort student says he's no longer staying quiet about the problem.
Recently, seventh grader Braxdyn Melvin sang about bullying in a local talent competition. His perforce has since been posted on YouTube and attracted many eyes outside the Heartland.
"I hope my song sends out a message to those kids who bully, it hurts and it's wrong," Melvin told the audience.
The words come from the heart for 12-year-old Melvin. He says it lead him to rewrite parts of the well known song Hallelujah.
"It made me feel like I accomplished something, I got something done and I stood up for the kids who get bullied," Melvin said.
Melvin's mom, Kerri, was in the crowd that night and was shocked by what she heard.
"It took my breath away and there was a tremendous feeling of pride," Kerri Melvin said.
Melvin says the bulling got bad in the 4th grade. At the time he had a role in a local play. But as the years went on, Melvin says the name calling continued.
"They'd call me gay," Melvin said. "They'd call me a stage geek, band geek."
Despite his success on the stage, Melvin says the bullying hurt his self-esteem. At times, he didn't want to go to school.
"It made feel like I had to wear a different thing to school and I would have to quit singing and quit acting, just so I could please other people," Melvin said. What people don't get is people are different, not all kids like sports, not all kids like music."
But Melvin says the stage and song helped to break his silence.
"I just wanted to have the strength to get across to people, that kids like me, they get bullied, it hurts," Melvin added.
It's a song of freedom, which Melvin dedicates to all the victims of bulling, who remain silent.
Melvin says he did bring the bullying issues to the attention of his school, but nothing was done. He is now at junior high in West Frankfort. Melvin says he likes the school is working to address the bullying.
The principal says they're working to stop bulling with the help of both staff and parents.