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Bullied Gay Iowa Teen Committed Suicide After Alleged Death Threats

Bullied Gay Iowa Teen Committed Suicide After Alleged Death Threats

 

Kenneth Weishuhn, a high school student from Paullina, Iowa, took his own life Saturday following a sustained campaign of anti-gay bullying from classmates, both at school and online. He also reportedly received death threats by phone.

Reports KTIV.com:

Family and friends say the 14-year-old was happy.  But, beneath that smile, there was a lot of pain.

“He says, ‘Mom, you don’t know how it feels to be hated,” said Jeannie Chambers.

Kenneth Weishuhn didn’t know either, until he told his friends last month that he was gay.

“People that were originally his friends, they kind of turned on him,” said his sister Kayla Weishuhn.

Teasing started in school, according Kayla, a sophomore.  She says it was the boys in her class, that bullied her brother over his sexuality.

A lot of people, they either joined in or they were too scared to say anything,” she said.

She says they took their teases online, to websites like Facebook, creating a hate group against gays and adding Kenneth’s friends as members.  However, it was only the beginning, family say he started receiving death threats from South O’Brien students on his phone.

Parents in the district have said they are concerned that bullying has become a problem for the area and that while there are protocols in place to deal with bullying something has obviously not happened fast enough to help Kenneth.

Says another KITV report:

These parents are urging district officials to be more proactive than reactive.

“Waking up yesterday morning and finding out that because a 14-year-old figured out who he was and people didn’t like it, that they started bullying him, it really makes me afraid for my daughter because I’ve always taught her to be an individual and that she can be anything she wants to be an whoever she wants to be,” said Nicole Bensley, parent of kindergartner.

“A policy’s only as good as the paper that it’s printed on. If you don’t read it and take action on it, it’s no use,” said Toni Wulf, parent of 7th grader.

The district points out that it has created a number of assemblies related to combating bullying and cyberbullying over the past few months, and has said it acts swiftly to investigate all cases of bullying that are brought to its attention.

Superintendent Dan Moore is quoted as saying that if an investigation finds that bullying was part of this case, it will be dealt with: “This is a smaller school, and it’s a family. It’s a darn good school, with great staff and great students, and we need to address if we have issues. We don’t ignore any issues. We address them all to the best we can.”

The sheriff’s office has opened an investigation into the case.

Those wishing to pay their respects have started a Facebook group in memory of Kenneth.

 

Related Reading:

People Apparently Don’t Die From Anti-Gay Bullying

District Rethinks Leaflet Policy After Ex-Gay Promo Given to Kids

Daniel Radcliffe’s New Trevor Project PSA

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Image taken from public Facebook group, no infringement intended.

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72 comments

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5:08AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

When our young kill themselves, there are no future for the rest of us. RIP, Kenneth.

5:51AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Sandy E.
Not everyone handles situation the same...Everyone has different strengths unless you are in the same position you should not judge or ask the question. Your question shows why the kids are the way the are I hope you are not a Parent.

5:48AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

This Hate that is going around against anyone that is different has to stop how many more of our future children and young adults will succumb to this bullying. What are we teaching our children. Hatred!!!!! Come on adults lets stand up and be the adults and parents we are suppose to be lets lead by example and teach our children to respect the differences in each other and not hate because they are different. Lets be Parents and less of being friends and teach tolerance ..... R.I.P. Kenneth your death will not be in vain. My condolences to the Family...

6:19AM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

Really Sandy you are going to ask a ridiculous question like "why did he kill himself?". It is apparent that you have NEVER had a FB hate group made about you AND that you have never received death threats. It's hard enough being a kid these days because most parents are lazy and do not teach their kids manners, understanding and compassion or anything else important. They learn it from bad seed friends they have made OR at home with their bad parents. I believe the parents should ALSO be charged. Put some pressure on them to actually BE parents and take responsibility for their kids actions. I understand the want/need to commit suicide he felt alone and scared and had no where to turn.


I hope that Kenneth get justice but most of all I hope he finds peace.

3:57PM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

What a beautiful face! An angel sent to us so that we could see just what a high price we pay for teaching our children to hate. And those who stood by and did nothing are equally to blame for this tragedy. Where were the adults in the school? Where were the men and women who could have protected this child? Sometimes silence is just as lethal as a gun. This can't be allowed to continue, children must be safeguarded. Schools need to create anti-bullying programs, with caring adults who take the time to find out what is going on and who is being picked on. What an awful thing for the family of this child to endure, my heart goes out to them.

6:34AM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

Condolences and prayers for the family and friends of Kenneth and even to those hateful narrow-minded bullies. May the community take swift action and press charges on those who left death threats on the phone and messages on Facebook.

7:11PM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

Poor child. Rest in peace.
And in Louisiana, this kind of bullying has the blessing of the conservatives.

1:16PM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

Absolutely tragic. R.I.P. Kenneth. Sincere condolences to Kenneth's family and (true) friends.

4:58AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

Oh not another one. I am glad to hear the school and police and community are on it, though, unlike other places in the country. RIP Kenneth.

7:45PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

Chargers must be bought on all those that gave him death threats.

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