PROVO — An Arizona high school quarterback who protected a fellow student from bullies was in Provo Wednesday to be honored for his actions.
After witnessing Chy Johnson, a student with special needs, be bullied day after day, Carson Jones got the entire Queen Creek High School football team to rally behind the girl. Johnson's brain works at a third-grade level due to a genetic birth defect, and fellow students regularly pushed her in the halls or threw trash at her.
"She'd come home crying, saying that she really didn't have any friends, and that people were bullying her," Jones said.
Liz Johnson, Chy's mother, said she got nowhere with teachers and administrators, so she decided to turn to Jones, who once escorted Chy to the special Olympics. Johnson asked Jones to simply get her the names of some of the bullies. Instead, he asked Chy to sit with him every day at lunch.
"I just thought that if they saw her with us every day, maybe they'd start treating her better," he told ESPN. "Telling on kids would've just caused more problems."
Instead, the Queen Creek football team became a powerful group of friends, protecting Chy from bullies and gaining a No. 1 fan.
"I just thought that if they saw her with us every day, maybe they'd start treating her better."
"I call them my boys," Chy said.
The group traveled to Provo to be honored by Brigham Young University with a service award. Their actions have not only impacted their lives for the better, but Queen Creek High School has changed as well.
"Everyone kind of realizes that this is the way to go, and not bullying because there's better consequences when you're nice to everyone than when you're not," Jones said.
The team recently cheered Chy on as she competed in the Special Olympics, and those who aren't graduating plan to continue their friendship next year.
Contributing: Stephanie Grimes