It had been just two months since the Iowa high-school freshman came out of the closet, and all of Kenneth’s friends were invited. How vicious is that, to try to influence a delicate young boy’s friends to betray him, just because he liked other boys?
Kenneth wasn’t shy about sharing his love for cute male pop stars, and heartbreakingly wanted to one day throw a fancy gay wedding of his own. Now, because of some idiotic bullies, that will never happen.
The online investigation may include a Facebook “fan page” that allegedly encouraged hate against gays. Whoever started the page sent invites to all of Weishuhn’s friends, his sister told the Journal.
Teachers and school administrators were aware that Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. was a victim of anti-gay bullying at school. Staff stepped up hallway patrols and held an anti-bullying assembly, but the harassment didn’t stop, Weishuhn’s sister said.
Weishuhn’s mother said she’ll defer to sheriff’s investigators about possible criminal charges in connection with her son’s death.
Relatives may also be considering a civil lawsuit against Weishuhn’s alleged bullies, or even his school. Similar lawsuits in other bullying cases have alleged negligence by a school, for failing to adequately address bullying.
In this case, however, “I feel the school did address the issue … when it came to their attention,” the school’s superintendent told the Journal.
Kenneth Weishuhn’s mother said at the very least, she hopes her son’s suicide “touches [the bullies'] heart[s] for them to never, ever want to bully somebody again.” Meantime, someone has started another Facebook page, in Weishuhn’s memory.
We hope it more than just touches their hearts, and that it touches more than just these bullies. This happens all the time across the country, and it’s not okay. Let’s hope Bully, which opened this weekend, reaches people, or else the blood of impressionable gay teens will be on the hands of some invisible cultural force called homophobia.
If anyone has the link or screenshots of this Facebook hate page, please send it to us. We’re interested in seeing just how vile the anti-gay sentiment is among high schools in this rural Iowa town.