Heartbreaking Details Emerge In Suicide Of Out Iowa Teen Kenneth Weishuhn

More details have emerged in the suicide of Kenneth James Weishuhn, a 14-year-old high-school freshman who had just come out of the closet a month ago.

Weishuhn was severely bullied at South O’Brien High School in Paulina, Iowa, as soon as he came out, reports KTIV, with former friends turning against him. Boys in his class made a hate group against gays and added Kenneth’s friends to it.

Then death threats started coming in to his cell phone, says Kenneth’s sister Kayla.

It’s especially saddening to remember this all went down in a marriage-equality state. Kenneth even had a Pinterest page envisioning a highbrow gay wedding (right), with items ranging from two grooms on a wedding cake and vintage menswear attire to a Rolls Royce honeymoon car.

Weishuhn also wasn’t shy about his gay crushes, who included boy-bander Louis Tomlinson the cover image on his Facebook page, and Justin Bieber and Zayn Malik.

Then there’s the Pinterist section titled “inspiration,” which had pictures of “It Gets Better” t-shirts and a quote from Chris Colfer: “There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s a lot wrong with the world you live in.”

Says Weishuhn’s mother Jeannie Chambers: “He [said], ‘Mom, you don’t know how it feels to be hated’… When I’d question him about the phone calls, he just blew it off. So I just thought everything was okay.”

Chambers is unsure if she wants to press charges against the bullies: “I really don’t want to ruin somebody else’s life, or take someone else’s son or daughter from them. But, I don’t know what it’s going to take to get it to stop.”

Kenneth’s favorite quote was “be buddies, not bullies.” If only they’d listened.

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  • Codswallop

    I know that hindsight is 20/20, but parents should NEVER assume that their kids’ claim that something is “no big deal” is the truth, especially when it comes to DEATH THREATS!!

    OK, I was trying to be all non-judgmental here, but WTF?! “I really don’t want to ruin somebody else’s life, or take someone else’s son or daughter from them.”

    Based on what’s been written so far it doesn’t sound like she did a whole hell of a lot to protect her kid when he was alive so how about stepping up to the fucking plate now that he’s DEAD? Jesus Christ! Quit being such a goddamn pussy and do something!

  • Mark

    @Codswallop: I am with you on this.

  • WillBFair

    Months ago, I wrote to Dan Savage asking him to modify the IGB campaign with a strong warning not to come out until after graduation. He ignored it of course, as do the rest of the community. But do keep on with the sentimentality. As Jack said on Will and Grace, ‘pretend to care, pretend to care, pretend to care.’

  • mc

    This makes me angry. As a parent, I wouldn’t tolerate my child getting bullied or being a bully. You don’t ask a child how they feel about their recent death threats, how stupid. You march down to that school & talk to that principal, teacher, counselor whatever, you email, you call & you get a response. You find the name of the kid & talk to that parent & knock on their door if you have to. I’ve done whatever I needed to to keep my child sane & healthy. You could always get the school to really come out strong against bullying, but it works best if parents are more stronger advocates for their kids, especially when you have a child who’s just come out.

  • Texndoc

    It’s tragic but this “bully” bit is becoming a panacea for any depressed or anxious teen, gay or straight, male or female. Suicide in this age of Internet and Facebook is almost glamorized.

  • Phantom

    @Codswallop: you read my mind, I agree with you 100 percent

  • cam

    So a kid is getting death threats and mom ignores, and now the mother is going “Gee, I don’t want to ruin somebody else’s life.”

    This sounds harsh, and I know I don’t know the woman, but in my opinion…..It’s a shame she wasn’t as concerned with her own son’s life.

  • Mike

    Chambers is unsure if she wants to press charges against the bullies: “I really don’t want to ruin somebody else’s life, or take someone else’s son or daughter from them. But, I don’t know what it’s going to take to get it to stop.”

    Fuck them. They deserve to have their lives ruined.

  • Dave

    Rest in peace.

    I agree WillBeFair. Then again Dan Savage is an idiot and he’s biphobic, transphobic, and a racist media whore. He started the whole It gets better project not to help LGBT youth but to get a reality TV show on MTV. It was stupid of him to tell LGBT youth to all come out when they’re in jr. highschool and highschool knowing that HS is not an easy time for anyone even straight kids and that kids in school are moronic and will gossip about and bully anyone for any reason. Add in social media sites like Facebook and youtube and it gets 1,000X worse.

    I came out in school when I was 14 or 15 and a freshman in highschool but at the time nobody took me seriously at all and this wasn’t all that long ago either.

    I’m not sure why his mom wouldn’t want to press charges? They made death threats against her son!

  • Dave

    Rest in peace.

    I agree WillBeFair. Then again Dan Savage is an idiot and he’s biph obic, transph obic, and a ra cist media whore. He started the whole It gets better project not to help LGBT youth but to get a reality TV show on MTV. It was stupid of him to tell LGBT youth to all come out when they’re in jr. highschool and highschool knowing that HS is not an easy time for anyone even straight kids and that kids in school are moronic and will gossip about and bully anyone for any reason. Add in social media sites like Facebook and youtube and it gets 1,000X worse.

    I came out in school when I was 14 or 15 and a freshman in highschool but at the time nobody took me seriously at all and this wasn’t all that long ago either.

    I’m not sure why his mom wouldn’t want to press charges? They made death threats against her son!

  • Belize

    @mc: Imbeciles like JayKay and that mentally ill blogger from the Sword, would disagree with you since bullying “is a harmless, necessary part of character building.” ;) Remind yourself that these people are part of our community the next time you wonder as to why things remain ill as far as US LGBT rights are concerned.

  • lizcivious

    When you’re 14 years old time just drags on endlessly. You live in the here and now; the future seems so far away. When it’s April, it seems like June will never arrive. I have no qualms about the “It Gets Better” campaign, but there needs to be a “Make it Better NOW!” campaign where empathy and tolerance lessons are mandatory at school. If children are not taught to respect others at home, which is most likely where bullying behavior begins, then schools NEED to inundate kids with it from Day 1. Dreams of a romantic wedding to his soul mate probably became very murky to Kenneth as he tried to cope with hate on a day-to-day basis. It breaks my heart to think that now his dreams will never come true. His bullies need to be taken to task for their actions. Bullies need to face the consequences of the misery they cause. They need to be made aware of why and how their behavior is harmful. The bullies are the ones who need to be doing the hard work to change, not their victims.

  • Hyhybt

    @WillBFair: A blanket warning against coming out wouldn’t be reasonable. Some people still in school are in an environment where it would be safe to be out, and for some, the strain of keeping that big a secret is worse than what they’re likely to encounter from spilling it.

  • Auntie Mame

    Since most of the fags who will comment on this story don’t have children and never will, let me offer some insight.

    1. You’re upset about the mother’s comment regarding “ruining someone else’s life”? Guess what, asshole, she just lost her son. Her son. Died. A living, breathing person that she grew inside of her body and pushed out of her vagina, just died. You can’t imagine the grief that comes with such a loss. So, perhaps, right now, she’s expressing emotions and sentiments that aren’t necessarily reflective of how she will ultimately feel. Stop attacking her and let her grieve. Then see what she has to say.

    2. You’re mad because she didn’t do enough to protect her son? Get a fucking clue. News flash. Teens lie to their parents. EVERY. DAY. In fact, it’s one of the things they do best. They lie through omission. They lie directly, sometimes to protect themselves and sometimes to protect their parents. Every parent thinks their kid is special. Every parent thinks, “It won’t happen to my kid.” Do you know how many teens die in auto crashes every year? Yet, parents still let their teens drive. Why? Because, parents don’t think it will happen to their special, perfect child. That’s something that happens to someone else’s child. If parents didn’t think this way, they’d never let their kids out of the house, much less drive a car. So, his mother probably thought, “My son is different. He can handle this. He’d never hurt himself because he knows that we love him.” Stop blaming her. The better tactic is to advise all parents that, yes, even their precious child is at risk. Any child who comes out as a teen or is being bullied should immediately begin seeing a licensed psychologist so that someone with some training can watch the teen and assess any risk of suicide.

    3. I don’t see in this news story how the young man killed himself. However, research shows that the more lethal the method the less forethought goes into it. For example, people who kill themselves by jumping from a bridge spend considerably less time between the suicidal thought and taking action than do those who use pills. So, if he used a highly lethal method, it’s quite possible that the time period between deciding to kill himself and actually doing it was so short that nobody had time to intervene. So, rather than being preachy, spend less time naked on cruise ship balconies and more time researching the issues.

    4. And, not specific to this case, but specific to life in general – If you aren’t a parent, nobody gives a shit about your parenting advice because you have no earthly idea what the fuck you are talking about.

  • Auntie Mame

    @lizcivious: Many parents insist that we teach creationism in school or want to ban evolution and you think we’re going to get parents to allow lessons about tolerance. What idealistic planet do you people live on? Look around you. These bullies are spewing what their parents say. Their parents won’t agree to tolerance lessons. Look how nasty parents get about Day of Silence events.

  • Auntie Mame

    @mc: Did you see the movie, Bully? Fuck. When the parents go to the school to complain, the administrator basically says, “Oh, well. Kids will be mean. Nothing we can do. But, hey, look at these pictures of my new grandchild.” Talking to administrators is useless except for documentation purposes.

  • [email protected]

    Lawsuits are the only way to get school administrators to listen…It may cost them money not to. They could care less if their LGBT students kill themselves. (This is directed toward specific school officials, and they know who they are!)

  • mc

    @Auntie Mame: I wrote as a parent & one with a child with issues and believe me, they knew me in every school he ever attended. I was always polite & nice but i never hesitated to get in their face if needed. If it’s a public school they have to deal with you. They may not take the action you want but once they know you’re watching what they do, they start paying attention to your child because you’re an involved parent.

    They’re many lazy parents out there whose kids survive quite nicely sometimes through sheer luck and then they’re some kids you just have to parent. I had to be my child’s advocate because I had one of those & this boy’s parents needed to be that as well. Don’t know them & the article is pretty flimsy but the comments so far coming from the mother are not winners.

  • Codswallop

    Oh well thank god we have Auntie Mame here to tell us “fags” how it really is since, despite many of us have been in the same situation this kid was, we don’t don’t know a fucking thing we’re talking about. None of us have children of our own, nieces or nephews, are godparents or are close to the children of our friends. Somehow between guzzling appletinis and out tiny lives in the gay ghettos we’ve relegated ourselves to we’ve gotten the crazy idea that when your kid is getting death threats on the phone and a Facebook page dedicated to bullying them that maybe denial isn’t the best course of (non)action. Silly us. You know how dizzy us fags can be!

  • Tired of the hate

    Wow. A child just killed himself for hate. So let’s stop hating with all of these comments and start talking about how we can work together to make sure it doesn’t happen to another child.

  • Auntie Mame

    @Codswallop: If you don’t have kids, you don’t know a fucking thing you’re talking about with respect to how the mother/parents handled things. Being a bullied child doesn’t give you any insight into being a parent. Having a dog, cat, nephew, niece, or godchild doesn’t give you a fucking clue about parenting, either.

  • Auntie Mame

    @Tired of the hate: Not attacking the mother would be a good place to start.

  • Auntie Mame

    @mc: I don’t disagree with the notion that parents need to confront administrators. My point is that we shouldn’t give parents the impression that administrators will care or act. We must arm parents with other tools to help their children when administrators fail to respond. I’m sure you probably death with some responsive one and some who didn’t know their butt from a hole in the ground. Having raised 5 kids, I saw both kinds of administrators. I want parents to know about other options, when the schools fail to respond.

  • Auntie Mame

    @mc: And I hope your child got some relief. It took a lawsuit to get something done for one of my kids.

  • Auntie Mame

    @Auntie Mame: Typing with a broken hand. Let’s try that again…”I’m sure you probably death with some responsive one”

    “I’m sure you probably dealt with some responsive ones…”

  • cam

    @Auntie Mame: said…

    Since most of the fags who will comment on this story don’t have children and never will, let me offer some insight.

    1. You’re upset about the mother’s comment regarding “ruining someone else’s life”? Guess what, asshole, she just lost her son.
    2. You’re mad because she didn’t do enough to protect her son? Get a fucking clue. News flash. Teens lie to their parents. EVERY. DAY.

    1. “Fags” Nice, THAT’ll show us.
    2. Really? She lost her son? How interesting since she seemed more interested in what somebody else would think if she went after the people who tormented him into his grave.
    3. Did he lie to her? Funny since she was PERFECTLY AWARE of the threats and even mentioned them in the interview didn’t she?

  • cam


    Well said.

  • Dave

    Auntie Mame is a troll and hates LGBT people as he’s shown. I agree with Cam, the mom here is screwey since she knew all about her son being an LGBT person and knew all about the death threats yet she brushes them all off with “Well, I wouldn’t want to press charges or ruin someone else’s life…” BS.

  • Hyhybt

    “If you don’t have kids, you don’t know a fucking thing you’re talking about with respect to how the mother/parents handled things.”

    Absolutely false. Not everybody has kids, but everybody has BEEN one at some point… and there are some things it’s easier to see when you’re not directly involved.

    It may be easier to *excuse* mishandling things if you’ve been in a similar position (doing things right is always harder when you’re the one having to do it, no matter what the task) but that doesn’t change what the right way would have been.

    It wasn’t necessary to have captained a ship yourself to know that one ought to keep it in water that’s at least as deep as the keel, and it’s not necessary to have a child to know that if someone is threatening to kill yours then things are NOT fine no matter what he says.

  • jormol90201

    This kinda’ shit breaks my heart seriously people we are in the year 2012 and freaking bullying is still happening. I do not condone blaming the “parents” but a good education starts at home. If a parent teaches there kids not to be bullies or not to bully anyone more then likely they will listen I mean these suicides are happening in the small towns nowadays kids are super open about there sexuality. I thought this kinda’ shit was not happening but now more and more stories of bullying and suicide are common which is a damn shame. My heartfelt prayers go out to the family of Kenneth may he R.I.P.

  • Martin

    Actually i have two sons. None of them are bullied but i wrote the administrator asking about anti-bullying policy. I got the evasive answer imaginable. Also he said the school was unable to interfere with facebook and text message bullying because it happened in an out of school context.

    Generally there will be NO help from teachers and administrators. They have to take “balanced” view of the “conflict”.

    If you people want to stop gay teen bullying then start relating your views to the REAL WORLD not a dreamed up world. Its all very well to be angry and say things need to change. But if its going to be more than empty words it must be practicable. Gay hit squads, or gay strikes arent really realistic. Not much more helpful is sympathy. We cant be these boys friends. Were not 14. We dont live there. They need friends. They need to be left alone

    WHAT WE COULD DO is educate gay youngsters about ways to deal with homophobia and where you might encounter it. One of the good ways of dealing with homophobia on a personal level is being careful who you tell. Even on this bæog not everyone is out to everybody. They can tell mom, but they need to think twice about school and work. We all have a persona, a mask or several masks we put on to make life easy for us. Its not a big deal

  • Stewie

    A long time ago, a bully chased my sister and I down on his bike and spat in my sister’s hair. My mom had NO QUALMS about calling the cops. Hopefully when Kenneth’s mother has gotten past the initial shock of what’s happened, she will reconsider some kind of legal action.

  • didi

    I am glad to see MOST of the comments above are from people who realize the importance of doing something about bullying and who know that it is still extremely stigmatic to be gay, especially in middle and high school, and especially in small-towns. I hope the movie Bully comes out all over the US and beyond so we can all start making changes early on. The trauma of bullying should no longer be “just something we have to go through” to become adults. It’s time to start teaching accountability and respect.

    Furthermore, I think it would be really important to have regular talks with kids about what their brain and body is going through. Through puberty and beyond children struggle with self-esteem and mostly the bully’s are just as insecure, matter of fact, MORE insecure–this aggression is used to hide their insecurities. I think if this were more often discussed and if teachers and parents talked about another way to handle their insecurities, that bullying would be mitigated significantly.

  • Phantom

    @Dave: the funny thing is this troll is a member of queerty, lol what a dumbass troll. Whether we agree or not agree with the mother’s decision. It is obvious that the mother do not give a damn about her kid.

  • Dale Kent

    Myself, I am getting pretty tired of the whole “It Gets Better” campaign because unfortunately, and in too many recent incidents, it hasn’t.

  • Pete

    My best friend committed suicide 30 years ago at 22 years of age. His father was a bible thumping hypocrite that carried bible quotes on 3″ x 5″ cards in his car while he cheated on his wife. The family was very close and loving until Tim announced (at 16) that he was gay. The brothers would make little remarks about not acting gay in front of their friends, and his father wanted him to find Jesus again and denounce his homosexuality. At 21, he was riding along with me occasionally as I was a police officer; nobody suspected that we were gay. He was his high school varsity quarterback. At 22, he committed suicide. I think all the messages got through that he wasn’t wanted anymore in his family, and his family was important to him. His father came to visit me about a month after his suicide to tell me that he was preparing to tell his son that he loved him and could accept his homosexuality when Tim killed himself. I think he was looking for some relief from the guilt and complicity. I told him that his son believed in God as we had long conversations about him being pissed that his family assumed he couldn’t believe in God and be gay. And, that he was a month late in telling his son that he still loved him; I wasn’t interested in letting him think that his revelation that gay was okay after his son killed himself garnered any sympathy from me.
    Kenneth’s mother: Dear Mom, Your son was getting death threats and you did nothing. Are you struggling that you did everything a mother is supposed to do, or are you relieved that you won’t have to discuss your son’s sexual orientation. Yes, by all means don’t ruin the lives of the bullies, they are now free and empowered to do it again. So Mom, I hope you enjoy the rollercoast ride I’ve been on for 30 years, but guilt isn’t part of it.

  • B

    No. 7 · cam wrote, ‘So a kid is getting death threats and mom ignores,’

    The news article did not say that she knew the phone calls included death threats – that could have been discovered afterwards by going through voicemail. She seems to have known that something was wrong, but not necessarily how wrong. Possibly she only saw/heard her son’s reaction to some of the calls.

    Any demand to press charges should be directed to the D.A. The victim’s parents don’t technically have to do anything. While it is not uncommon for a D.A. to not prosecute cases in which a victim is reluctant to file a complaint, this usually reflects the D.A. having to prioritize cases due to limited resources and a need in some cases for the victim to be a witness.

  • Jason

    “it’s especially saddening to remember this all went down in a marriage-equality state” yeah if the citizens of Iowa were allowed to vote on this we wouldn’t be an marriage equality state. That ruling was forced upon us, we never got to have a say on if it is what we wanted or not. I’m an alumnis of South O’Brien High School, and even though I am not a gay rights supporter, I still think this is sad and shouldn’t have ever come to this! Our teachers at our school never really ever took a stand against bullying especially because some of the worst bullies were the teacher’s kids.

  • Hyhybt

    @Pete: Guilt is a normal part of grieving anyway; there’s just about always *something* the survivor could have done differently (or at least thinks they could), especially if they’d known what was coming. All the worse when it’s true.

    Unless I’ve missed something (and I’ve been looking) there’s no indication that Mom didn’t accept him as he was and let him know that. It’s all too easy not to realize how bad things are until it’s too late… and then the “how could I not see that?” can be crushing.

  • Pete

    @B: I’m a criminal trial lawyer. Mom should have checked as this was a hot item and the boy was 14 – kind of like monitoring his email for safety concerns. If the parents don’t raise hell about this, the D.A. isn’t going to start an investigation (the police are the ones that should have done it in any event). Priority of cases – really? There were death threats, and a boy died. The victim was the child, the dead child’s parents are also victims, but on every indictment I’ve ever read for murder it reads, ” . . . did then and there kill (or other language) a human being namely: Kenneth James Weishuhn, hereinafter the victim, by (whatever the means of death) . . . against the peace and dignity of the state . . .” I understand your point about the parents. But, do they want it to quietly go away and empower the bullies, or raise hell, get charges filed, and let every other bully know there are consequences.

  • mc

    Here are the quotes from the mother in the Washington Post article after there was a school incident: “Chambers said the school never reached out to her about the harassment her son was facing, although she said she also didn’t contact the school at her son’s urging. She said her son told her the harassment died down when the bullies turned their attention to a pregnant girl, and he feared it would get worse again if she intervened.

    “I didn’t contact the school, which I should of, but he was just like, ‘Mom, please don’t … you’ll make it worse,” Chambers said.”

    Also: ” Kenneth’s mother said it’s up to the authorities to decide whether to press charges. She just wants the bullying to stop.”

    This mother seems very passive to me–filled with hope that bullying will stop but not showing a whole lot of effort to do anything about it. Kenneth’s sister said the vbullying was done by her fellow classmates so it’s not like it was anonymous. You don’t want to contact the school then contact the parents of these kids & if necessary threaten them with legal or police action.

  • mc

    All the above to say, Yes it appears the mother & the sister were aware of the bullying incidents

  • Amz


    Yes, because succumbing to the will of society always gets changes going faster. #sarcasm

  • B

    No. 40 · Pete wrote, “@B… Priority of cases – really? There were death threats, and a boy died.”

    Yes, “really” but the problem was actually your reading comprehension. I pointed out that usually (i.e., in most cases) someone has to complaint in practice, if only because the D.A. doesn’t have the resources to prosecute everything that could be prosecuted. “Most cases”, however, does not mean most murders or most death threats, but includes a large number of relatively minor crimes. This particular one is atypical. so a general rule that “usually” applies does not necessarily apply here.

    The D.A. can (and should) file an indictment on his own regardless of whether the parents file a complaint if the evidence warrants that. Let’s not forget that the D.A. is an elected official. If he does nothing in spite of legitimate grounds to prosecute, the voters should quite properly offer him “early retirement”.

    Whether the victim’s parents should have monitored phone calls is problematic – at most they might have heard a few voicemails, but only if those were not deleted after being heard. Sometimes “deleting” a voicemail simply means setting a bit indicating that it is deleted, with the voicemail still available on the server, so more might be uncovered during an investigation than the victim’s parents might have been able to find on their own. The same thing is true for email, particularly if using an IMAP-based service.

  • WillBFair

    @Amz: It’s been obvious to me for months that the reason the community doesn’t warn kids not to come out is because they want to use them as pawns in the fight for equality. And they don’t care how many are crushed in the process. Thanks for confirming this, heartless monster.

  • Codswallop

    @WillBFair: Listen to me you piece of SHIT, not ONE goddamn gay activist in this country advised that gay kid to come out of the closet before they’re ready and if you’re claiming so you’re a goddamn liar. Not Dan Savage, not anyone.

    Will Be Fair? Was the name RightWingStooge taken?

  • Auntie Mame

    @cam: Oh, please. Drop the dramatic flair about “fags”. That word is thrown about by gay people all the time. Did you think I’m not gay because I said I have children? Don’t answer that. No need to admit to your own bigotry.

    Yes, she knew about the threats. But, she may not have been aware of how he was handling them psychologically. It’s one thing for him to tell her about the threats. It’s another thing for him to discuss how he was handling them. But, you wouldn’t understand this since you don’t have kids. Push a few out of your vagina and then tell me about parenting. And again, her son just died so you don’t know that the emotions she’s expressing now are ones spoken in grief or one’s that represent her true feelings.

    Grow up – especially if you ever plan to have kids.

  • Auntie Mame

    @Dave: Not a troll. But, I am a parent. Same thing to some, I guess.

  • Auntie Mame

    @Hyhybt: Again, if you don’t have kids, you know nothing about parenting and your opinions on parenting are pretty much worthless.

  • Auntie Mame

    @Phantom: I’m a member because I’m gay and a parent. Now, who’s the dumbass, dumbass?

  • Pete

    @B: @B (44) The squeaky wheel gets the oil comes to mind. I can’t address the ability of a parent to read their kid’s mail for lack of knowledge. I figured out I was queer (gay wasn’t what it means now) when I was about 11, but knew I was different from about 5 on. I was the biggest kid in junior high and tough (2 older brothers and sports). Over the past ten years, I’ve had 3 kids (40 years later) tell me that they tried very hard to be my friend (I remembered them being bullied and did step up; we were more compassionate then I suppose) because they were being bullied and if they were my friend they knew I would stop it. At our 30 year HS reunion, an old friend (he was always chubby) introduced me to his kids as the guy who saved his life; it was very humbling. The gay kids were hitting on me in junior high, but I was terrified of being labelled – big or not. I don’t understand how a friend can let his friend be bullied, but I’m a generation removed from the “elightened” generation. And, I’ve seen first-hand how some parents won’t standby their gay child; again, something I couldn’t do. I’ve never lived in a small town, but as a lawyer I understand small town mores when trying cases and dealing with their view of the world. Consequently, I’ve had scores of kids seek me out for a hug and comfort – an assurance that there are people that care and it does get better. It’s so easy now, but at 14 the stress is crushing as everything is geared for straight kids; these children shouldn’t have to wait until they are 18 to have a social life, but that is the reality.

  • Auntie Mame

    When you don’t have kids and have raised little more than your glass on New Year’s Eve, you have no idea what it’s like to be a parent and the difficult decisions you have to make, especially in small town America. If the young man begged his mother not to contact the school, she has to weigh his request.

    It’s amusing that a community that constantly screams about not pre-judging people is so eager to always cast the parents, especially the mother, as the uncaring, insensitive bitch. Next time you’re prejudged as limp-wristed & lisp-spewing, remember how quickly you are to judge this mother.

    And, if the gay community is so concerned about children, watch how gay parents are treated in gay neighborhoods like the Castro. I’ll take my kids to see a kid themed performance at the Castro Theater and overhear numerous comments about being a sell-out because I have kids or comments about how inappropriate it is to bring kids to the Castro. I’m simply walking from the MUNI station to the theater to attend a fucking movie event that’s targeted at kids. I’ve also seen stores happy to have naked, old men as customers but treat parents as if they had just taken a huge shit at the store’s entrance.

  • Hyhybt

    @Auntie Mame: Say it as often as you like; it will remain a lie.

  • WillBFair

    @Codswallop: I didn’t say they advised anyone to come out. I said they haven’t warned anyone not to. Next time, before calling such nice names, you might make sure you read correctly.
    But activists and plenty of people like amz on the blogs have implied that kids should come out in order to get ‘changes going faster.’ That kind of thing is everywhere, and the trans woman on Glee came out last night in ball gown and heels, and everything was just peachy.
    Now you want to distract attention from the facts with the strawman that activists haven’t said it out loud. Please. Their atitude and yours is obvious. It’s another example of the heartlessness of this community, which has been obvious since they refused to stop hiv 30 years ago.
    Queue the next excuse.

  • Auntie Mame

    @Hyhybt: Those of us with kids, know the truth. But, live in your fantasy world, as you wish.

  • mc

    i don’t believe it requires a parent to comment at all. Some of the most interesting comments have been from the non parents. Obviously this is an issue that needs input from the entire community. I do believe this woman was too passive. You don’t ask your child’s permission to intervene when they’re being threatened & you don’t ask how are you handling it. As a parent, you’re the adult and being the adult means overruling the judgment of your 14 year old child. I’ve known parents of their bullied child, get on the phone contact the parent of the bully & at the least engage in a discussion with them. So far, there’s no indication this woman did anything at all other than talk to her son.

    In that article it was mentioned after the incident at school, there was an entire assembly where the students attended to discuss this one boy. Yet the mother was still up in the air about whether she needed to contact the school? Well, I’m sure there’s more to the story and it does make me wonder how supportive she was when he came out.

  • Hyhybt

    @WillBFair: Are you saying that *nobody* should come out until after graduation? Because nobody has even hinted that everybody ought to before, despite your claims.

    There is nothing inherently contradictory between saying “don’t come out if it’s not safe for you to do so” and “if it is safe, please do because it helps others.”

  • Erik

    As a closeted gay teen, I once attempted suicide.

    Since that time, I’ve learned an invaluable lesson — if you quit, they win. You must fight.

    Fight them, for we are destined for victory.

    Fight them, as one day soon they will own the shame they’ve tried to foist upon us.

    Just fight. Never give in.

    We will win.

  • Derek Williams

    @Erik: Yours is the best comment yet. Never, ever, give up.

  • Paul

    I know this isn’t a very Democratic thing to say, but in this case…if I was his mother, I’d be like FUCK them…,I’d want to ruin each and every single one of these pathetic motherfucker’s lives…and their families. It truly breaks my heart that this SHIT is still going on today…I thought kids these days were more lax about homosexuality…this tug of war is never going to end.

  • Paul

    @Erik: God bless you!

  • Jean

    Rest In Peace
    É triste saber que um garoto com muitos sonhos e um futuro pela frente tenha sido tão agredido psicologicamente e escolhido como suicídio o caminho mais fácil para sentir-se em paz.
    Não conseguimos imaginar a dor que este menino estava sentindo, o medo, a solidão, carregando sozinho todo esse sofrimento.
    Espero que as pessoas que fizeram isto com ele possam refletir e carregarem sua culpa pelo resto de suas vidas.
    Aos familiares e amigos meus sentimentos.

  • fanboi


    I don’t understand how kids can treat each other this way. Until/unless kids begin to see ramifications for this kind of LIFE THREATENING behavior, it will continue. Despite the good attempts of feel good TV and support campaigns, these kids think they can get away with treating fellow students like sub humans. They can’t. At some point people – children or adults need to be shown that certain behavior is intolerable and we won’t take it anymore. I’d like to see a law that treated a bullying someone to death (suicide or accident) punishable by at least some kind of manslaughter charge or reckless endangerment. Makes me wish I was a lawyer with time on my hands.

  • Shannon1981

    I don’t understand her not wanting these people punished. They sent death threats to her now dead son. Kids or not, they are old enough to know better. They should pay.

  • B

    No. 51 · Pete wrote, “@B: @B (44) The squeaky wheel gets the oil comes to mind. I can’t address the ability of a parent to read their kid’s mail for lack of knowledge.”

    If by “squeaky wheel”, you mean filing a complaint, what I was pointing out is that the parents don’t have to do it in the sense that it is not a legal requirement before someone is prosecuted. Pressure on the authorities may help get them moving, but community outrage works as well – the underlying problem is a threat to every parent’s child.

    You missed the point about email – it isn’t “lack of knowledge” because there are things that a service provider can do that an end-user can’t. For example, examining backups. In some cases, deleting an email is implemented by ‘marking’ it as deleted, with the email actually removed later. Because this is an implementation decision, the details may be completely hidden from the user. As an example. some of the original email systems kept a user’s mailbox as a single file, with new messages added at the end. To delete a message, it actually set a bit in the file indicating that a particular message should be ignored. When you “expunged” or “compacted” your mailbox, the deleted messages were physically removed. The reason was that user’s expect a deletion to be a fast operation and if you had to do a lot of copying to close a gap in the file, that would take too long. So they used a trick and hid the trick (to various extents depending on the software design) from the user.

  • Pete

    @B (65). By squeaky wheel I meant pretty much as you understand it, but without the parents on board it isn’t going to happen. I’m an attorney now after spending over ten years as a police officer (a third of the time working Special Crimes), so I have more than a passing knowledge of what motivates public servants; without knowing more about the parents, I have to wonder how supportive they were of their son to begin with.

    And, “Lack of knowledge” I was speaking of myself and not understanding what can and cannot be retrieved by parents or anybody else.

  • B

    No. 66 · Pete wrote, “@B (65). By squeaky wheel I meant pretty much as you understand it, but without the parents on board it isn’t going to happen.”

    My guess is that community outrage would work as well, but in nearly all such cases there is not going to be community outrage if the parents aren’t also complaining.

    I’ll decline to speculate about the victim’s parents, if only because of a lack of reliable information.

  • Geoff B

    @fanboi : One hundred percent agree. The only thing I would add is that the charges you suggest come with mandatory prison time. The only thing bullies and their enablers understand is fear of loss be it physical or monetary.Parents and families of bullied kids (gay or not) need to understand that in a sense war has been declared on their child and they must respond in kind. Bullies are cowards. When they understand bullying is one of the least safe things they can do, they’ll back down. Parents need to look at like this, if your kid ‘s life was on danger, you’d do whatever it takes to save your kid. If they are being bullied, their life may very well be on danger. Step the fuck up.

  • JayUVA

    This boy’s sister sounds like she will be a better and more articulate advocate for anti-bullying. Since prosecution may be unlikely, heck, it’s a small town so hopefully the names of the bullies will be known – let them deal with the shame and guilt of their actions.

  • lar51

    i can’t understand most of the comments. first I am a disabled 61 gay male that came out to faamily after my friend/lover//etc died after an 8 year relatiionship. The disability does cause some typing and communnication probllems sso pleese allow for the sometimmes mistake.
    First no on knows what they would do in her shoes. we all like to assume that we would be a hero and step up. but until you are there you do not.

    second isn’t the name calling the bullied bullying?
    third going off on “if you don’t have children and other trip sidelines is just that..
    I do nott have nor will ever have children but i have been involved in nephews/neices/cousins etc,to make valid juudgements on what works and what does not.
    (and before i hear rants about /Well it’s different if they are yours …remember foster/adopted children are not either.
    then it really is perception. one finding it easier to scream,rant, etc because out of
    anger,and pain having the emotions harden to one it becomes easier to see the prressing of charge may be easier and right (by the way I have for a nephew in my care)the mother may be grieving and hasn’t yet found the necceesary and approbiete anger yetbut that said
    enought of the spewing of venom and name calling gets any of us farther down the road.
    then the squekey wheel remark i hear so often … some times it doesn’t get grease.
    people get tired of it and change the wheel
    ending i guess with mmy own tripe.. try love not hate it is simple try respect. try talking. not screaming tirades try … oh you get the picture.. if not????????

  • Derek Williams

    @JayUVA: The “shame and guilt of their actions” says it all, however bullies feel neither shame nor guilt. On the contrary, they are proud of their actions and are heroes not only to themselves but to all homophobes.

    What is not properly understood is that bullies high-five each other after they drive a child to suicide. For them it is just another chalk mark against gays. Lack of intervention by pusillanimous school authorities and lukewarm feelgood statements and lack of followup after each child’s death serves only to confirm bullies’ underlying perception that society tacitly condones their bullying of gay teenagers.

    Once the gay child perceives that their small town has risen up against them, and oftentimes their family and church along with it, suicide becomes a natural choice.

    Until communities are properly educated about homosexuality and teenage suicide, and until school authorities take preemptive action, things will continue to get worse for gay teens, not better.

  • Tink

    1. no one knows the community that he was living in.
    2. for a women to not want someone else to feel the pain she feels on the loss of her son is kind hearted. All though some might not agree. God says you must forgive for he has forgiven you!
    3. all you guys are going off is the report
    4. why dont you move into their families community, and see how far you get with trying to file lawsuits against that school.

    Everyone that goes to South O’Brien High try to be popular, and when they get rejected they make their own clicks that get harassed for being diff or not being able to wear the cool clothes or like opposite sex teens. This school frowns when your diff. The teacher, students, and everyone else outside the school gets the drift of childrens dislikes and thy start being the same.. It’s a serious matter. So serious the state should pick it up as if it was a murder! Bullies are everywhere and everyone at one pkint has been a bully to another. Bullies are messed up kids with no morals, or parenti.g. Their parents should be ashamed of them, and definite punishment through the state or parenti

  • alumni

    @Mark: So she was told about the bullying and did nothing about it? Then wants to blame the school officials who may or may not have known about it? Also, where is the proof of the bullying. I don’t know Mrs. Chambers, but do know Mr. Chambers – apparently not Kenneth’s real dad. Why isn’t anyone questioning the home environment? Also, I heard a rumor (about as reliable as the death threats by text message at this point) that Kenneth’s boyfriend broke up with him not long before he committed suicide.

    It could very well have been bullying that played a part in this, but based on what I’ve heard and know about the situation, I have more questions before condemning an entire community or school.

  • Lance

    Cackling at this parenting wank. Shut the fuck up, no one cares how many children you have or how “valid” your opinion is on this.

  • stop hate

    It is a sad day when your friends turn against you, you are still the same person you were b4 you came out, shame people are afraid they mite be labeled for whom they hangout with.. some times those whom start to hate the most are more likely to be unsure of their own sexuality.. so they condemn the loudest..the only thing that changed about Kenneth was he chose to come out of the closet, yet he was still the same Kenneth that those who turned on him had grown up with for 14 years.

    Bullying needs to be stopped those whom do it thinking they are judging those who mite be sinning should remember that it is not up to mortal men to judge moral rights

  • sloj'pf

    @cam: this lady is a cunt.

  • brent

    I know many liberals think that the democrats are the pro gay party, but not when it comes to school choice. The democrats continue to defend a public school system that is not worth defending. They don’t care about bullying they care about pleasing the teachers union.

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