A 6-year old boy in Florida is dressed up as the Iron Man comic book superhero for Halloween, but his costume choice has become an issue at school. After he was bullied on the playground for wearing it, he wrote a letter to Marvel asking if they could help him get back at his bullies. His story went viral and brought awareness of bullying to young children everywhere.
It’s Halloween season, and you’ll see Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Captain America, and other Marvel characters wherever you turn. So, if you want to stand out, bring your A-Game, and 10-year-old Evan Struckman accomplished exactly that, as he and his mother Jill developed a fantastic costume based on Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. Jill reported in a series of Facebook postings that although Evan was delighted to show off his costume at the school Halloween celebration, other youngsters on the school bus teased him, leading his otherwise joyful day to take an unexpected detour.
Jill told PEOPLE that “he felt he looked fantastic,” and he did, as you can see. Things went wrong during the bus journey. “I received a phone call from school 20 minutes after he got on the bus telling me he was in the office and several students had said horrible things to him,” Jill recalled. “He was desperate to be lifted up and was inconsolably distressed. After getting off the bus, he went directly to the toilet and washed his face to remove all of the makeup.”
As a consequence, he declined to attend the party, and Jill went on to remark that she had never seen him so angry about anything others had said about him. “I’d never heard him so upset about anything someone said about him before,” Jill said. “He’s the kid that wears a tuxedo or a business suit to picture day and normally lets everything fall off his shoulders.”
She then posted a photo of Evan in the vehicle without his makeup on, looking devastated. “We’re on our way to get some ice cream since our eyes are puffy from weeping. WORDS HURT, and children must realize this “Jill made a post on Facebook. After a brief conversation with Evan at Starbucks, things began to turn around.
Jill said, “He knew he looked wonderful, he simply allowed what people said get to him.” “They informed him that it would appear ridiculous to everyone, and that worried him. ‘You know you look great, so why are you letting their thoughts hold you back?’ I merely said. You’re going to skip your party because of their viewpoints? ‘Perhaps they’re simply envious!’ ‘Do you want to go back?’ I finally asked. ‘Yes!’ he said.”
He came back into the school and to the party dressed in full costume and makeup, and it didn’t take long for others to comment on how wonderful his outfit was.
“He was a bit nervous at first, but as soon as we went in the office door, all the women who hadn’t seen his makeup thought he was adorable,” Jill added. “Right immediately, he received a lot of positive attention… and by the time he got off the bus later that day, he was as pleased as he could be.”
The students who bullied him were ultimately “dealt with by the school and apologized to him,” according to Jill. Jill said that she had “”I’ve never been prouder of Evan,” she remarked, adding, “Evan even learnt from this.” He’ll never be the youngster that harms other people’s emotions. He’s not usually worried by what others think or say, but the fact that it disturbed him so much shattered our hearts.”
Several of her postings became viral, and she apologized to Evan for publishing them since she hadn’t intended for them to be so popular. Evan, on the other hand, was unfazed.
“I apologized to him when it really took off. Because I had no idea how it would be accepted, it made me sick to my stomach “Jill said. “However, he was consoling me the other day and said it was OK if I posted that image since it shows others what it’s like to be bullied.”
Many have attempted to pique Downey Jr.’s interest in the narrative, and although Jill and Evan would appreciate it, Evan is content to make a difference.
“That would be fantastic for Evan,” Jill added. “But he’s primarily pleased that he’s making a difference and encouraging others to take risks… The outpouring of love and support has left us speechless.”
“Words are crucial. I nearly didn’t use the word ‘bullying’ in the article since he wasn’t physically harmed, but it hurts nevertheless. Words hurt, they matter, and they are powerful “Jill said. “If you see anything like this occurring, speak out for the youngster that is being teased. This has gone viral because we’ve all been there. It has a universal appeal. Every mother’s worst nightmare is for their child to be wounded, but this has renewed our confidence in mankind. It’s wonderful to witness so much affection.”
If you wish to send Evan a card, write “Jill Struckman, PO Box 362, Cottleville, MO, 63338” on the envelope.