Bullying and the death of Iowa teen Kenneth Weishuhn
Kenneth James Weishuhn Jr. of Primghar, Ia., was a 14-year-old freshman at South O'Brien Community School in nearby Paullina. About a month ago he came out as a gay teen to his family and local community. By all accounts he then was relentlessly bullied by some of his fellow male students both at school and online. In the wee hours of Sunday, April 15, Weishuhn's family discovered that the boy had committed suicide. I sat down with Weishuhn's older sister, Kayla, a sophomore, for an extensive talk about her brother and her account of the events in the last month. A video from that conversation leads off this storified roundup of local news about Weishuhn's death, the bullying issue and more video from Kayla and her brother's friends:
- Kayla Weishuhn reportedly has been scheduled to be interviewed Wednesday, April 24, by Thomas Roberts on MSNBC.
- This is absolutely heartbreaking- THIS is the hate that I talk about. THIS is what it's doing to us!! To our community!! I am at a loss seeing this story. What can possibly be done to SAVE the lives of our gay youth if the change doesn't start with us? Pay attention, people!! Look around and see what indifference causes!!
- Social media also has been a positive force in the wake of Weishuhn's death. A "Remember Kenneth James Weishuhn" Facebook group has cropped up, as well as a "No bully Iowa" group. Weishuhn himself was interested in the "It Gets Better Project" to support LGBT youth, and his own Pinterest feed illustrates some of his favorite things:
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