Lakeland student receives international honor for his efforts to prevent bullying

Posted at 4:18 AM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 12:19:53-04

"Banish bullying, anywhere and everywhere that we can," said Jaylen Arnold.

That's Arnold's lifelong goal and why he started Jaylens Challenge when he was in elementary school. The now 10th grader at Victory Christian Academy has been helping kids stand up to bullies for close to a decade. Arnold was born with Tourette's Syndrome and when he was younger, kids were relentless.

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"It causes me to twitch and make weird sounds and do a bunch of things," said Arnold. He went on to say all of the bullies made him ... "really want to speak up and be a protector for other kids."

National statistics show that more than one in five students report being bullied.

Arnold travels to schools around the county, giving presentations and leading activities, showing kids why bullying is a problem. He has even helped save lives.

"This girl, she came up to me right after we did an in-school assembly and told me that she was planning to kill herself that day. Fortunately, we were able to help her and she is alive and well today," said Arnold.

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On Thursday, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry will present Arnold with the Inaugural Legacy Award, in memory of Princess Diana. This award celebrates young people across the world who embody Princess Diana's qualities: kindness, compassion, and service.



Arnold's friend, Brooke Prevatt has been to the presentations and has seen the impact first hand.

"It is so great to be able to see all the kids come up and say, 'thank you,'" said Prevatt.

The 20 recipients come from all across the world. Arnold is the only one from the United States.



"It is going to be crazy because one day I am in school studying about these people and the next day I am being invited to meet with them," said Arnold.

Do you think your child is being bullied? Here are some warning signs.