Kenneth Weishuhn, Jr., the 14-year old who died by suicide this weekend after being mercilessly bullied by classmates, was receiving death threats on his cell phone and was the subject of a Facebook hate group. Weishuhn was just a freshman at South O’Brien High School, which serves three small towns in northwest Iowa, including Primghar, Kenneth’s hometown of 909 people. School officials apparently were aware of the bullying but did not notify Kenneth’s family.
“Mom, you don’t know how it feels to be hated,” Jeannie Chambers, Kenneth’s mother, said he told her, KTIV reports:
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.
“When I’d question him about the phone calls, like he just blew it off, so I just thought everything was ok,” said his mother.
According to Kenneth’s mother Jeannie, those South O’Brien boys were given a warning, but she was never contacted by the school. She’s unsure whether she’ll press charges against the students she says drove her son to his death.
“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,” said Chambers.
“To make someone feel so horrible about themselves, so miserable. To make them hate themselves they way my brother must have,” said his sister.
There will be a vigil in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday April 24th at 7:00 PM.
The New Civil Rights Movement, which yesterday was the first to report Kenneth Weishuhn’s suicide, noted there is a Facebook group created in his memory. It now has over 1500 members, almost twice the number of people in Kenneth’s hometown.
One entry notes, “Its sad to see how people cannot just see past a persons identity and just see them as a human,” while another reads, “You took his happiness away from him..,” and another, “No one deserves to be bullied! My sympathies to the family and friends of Kenneth! And to the kids that bullied him hope you sleep okay knowing that you drove a young man to an early fate, you should be ashamed of yourself!”
A Pinterest page with Kenneth James Weishuhn’s name says, “ I love Louis Tomlinson, A lot.” One section, titled, “When I get married. (:” has several photos of same-sex couples. Another, titled, “Inspiration,” offers several “It gets better” images, and a quote from Glee star Chris Colfer:
There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s a lot wrong with the world you live in.
To which Weishuhn added, “I hope so.”
Another image reads, “Never be bullied into silence.”
There is a video created by Kenneth’s friends, which you can see at our original story.
Watch this news report from KTIV:
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