Comments

  1. happyday says

    Just telling kids things will get better later is not cutting it. They need to be prepared for the backlash and hatred that will indeed be directed their way. Trying to educate the schools is obviously not working either, the bullies are still ruling the roost. There has to be a way to help kids learn coping mechanisms before they come out and to realize what is to come.

  2. Joseph says

    Bullying by kids won’t stop until bullying by adults stops. Between anti-gay politicians proposing laws that discriminate and anti-gay churches that continue to preach hate, bullying is the behavior that kids see adults displaying every day. When kids go to church on Sunday and hear the preacher spewing hatred towards gays how are they supposed to act?

  3. AJ says

    Nobody kills themselves in a vaccuumm. It’s very dangerous to say he was bullied, therefore he killed himself. It makes these poor, depressed kids into martyrs to a cause that adults have no way to do anything about. It sends the wrong message. There will always be depressed people offing themselves. Maybe the schools need to be educated on suicide prevention.

  4. Marcito says

    @HappyDay, Sean McFly, Joseph, & Jerry Pritikin: you are correct.

    @Robert: Kenneth Weishuhn would have needed an 18 wheeler
    full of screwdrivers… pointless & impossible.

    This morning, I lit a candle for Kenneth, hoping his heart can rest.

  5. Kathleen O'Neill says

    The hate groups, and the hate spewing politicians and preachers are vile, but they are a small minority, and growing smaller. They are not the only problem. In fact, some of them are so ridiculous that they have the opposite effect. Not too many people are looking to be associated with the Westerboro Baptist Church.

    The bigger problem is the fact that others stand by and let it happen.

    Bullying incidents have more layers of guilt than just the one caused by the bully who does the deed or makes the comment. The next layer might consist of his friends who laugh about it, and wait for more.

    But how can just a few people have so much power? That’s thanks to the biggest layer. The people who don’t join in, and don’t laugh, but don’t say or do anything to stop it.

    Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel,has said, “The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference.” Regardless of how the attitudes towards any person or group, tormentors would learn to keep their mouths shut if they found themselves outcasts for their offensive speech and actions.

    Pull the purse strings on preachers and politicians that spew the anti-gay rhetoric–and let them know that’s why you’re withdrawing support. It’s amazing how fast people lose the courage of their “convictions” when airing these views comes at a cost to them. Bullies are only given power by an audience, even a non-participatory one. Take it away, and they’ll melt as fast as the Wicked Witch of the West when hit with a bucket of water.

  6. Marcito says

    I agree with all posted comments, except Robert.
    Kenneth Weishuhn would have needed an 18 wheeler
    full of screwdrivers.

    pointless & impossible.

  7. uffda says

    Robert needs to go back to Puerto Roco. Period.

    The rest have great and useful comments. I was praying for the obliteration of Paullina, the town, by tornado, not helpful either. RIP young man, know that your life is now beginning to make a difference much needed among the church animals who have likely forced your departure.

  8. antb says

    I’m so sick of reading these stories that I’m starting to agree with Robert. If it’s going to end in violence, then I would rather the bullies be on the receiving end. I probably won’t feel this way tomorrow, but right now I wish I was reading a story about Kenneth being in custody instead of Kenneth being dead.

  9. Francis says

    The school board “does not know” why this happened? Maybe a lawsuit will refresh their memories.

    Until LGBTQ citizens and straight supporters, young and old, come out and make a stand and speak out against this INSTITUTIONALIZED homophobia in these rural, small-town minded areas, nothing will change, LGBTQ teens and straight teens who are assumed as gay, will continue to be bullied, beaten and commit suicide. The gay community at large, we have to do better in these communities. We have to do our part to reach out to the kids in these areas, because they feel as if they don’t have anything or anyone to support them and rely on. No-one LGBTQ to relate to. No straight friends who can understand them and put the bullies in check. We’re going to have to force change in these backward areas. All of us, have to stand up and make a difference.

  10. Caliban says

    There needs to be ONE central resource for gay kids coming out, whether they come out openly or just acknowledge it to themselves, someplace that’s so fixed in the public mind that contacting them is reflexive. And instead of just offering hope for a projected better future it needs to offer tools and resources for the present.

    I don’t fault the It Gets Better campaign. It is what it is but it’s clearly not enough.

  11. Michaelandfred says

    We need to start a campaign telling kids to call 911 when bullied. If teachers and other students won’t step in, these kids need to know they can call the police. That is what we would tell them if they were attacked in a mall or on the street or at home, why not at school? They have rights, they are not invisible or no longer citizens when they step on school property. They are forced, by law, to go to school every day. Forced to offer themselves, day after day, as a victim to violence and psychological torture of other teens.

    Let the police start responding to calls all across the country on a daily basis and someone will do something. Kids need to know they have the right to be safe, not just from strangers, but from other kids at school. They all have cell phones now. Parents should be educated and educating their kids to use them to call the police. School or not.

  12. ratbastard says

    Sad, sad story. But we don’t know what else was going on in his life and head. Suicide is an intensely personal thing.

    Here’s a bottom line: Kenneth lacked effective coping strategies and support network. If you have little or no reliable support network DO NOT ‘come out’ at least until after H.S. It’s almost impossible to create a one-on-one support network across rural America, the country is too large, and resources too scarce. This is stressful but will work for those who can ‘pass’. For effete boys or masculine girls, I don’t know what to say. But I knew effete boys who weren’t gay, so this is not necessarily a gay thing exclusively.

  13. says

    And one of the problems in High School seems to be that there are not enough straights with courage and integrity to stand against the bullies.
    If one guy is ‘effete’, then there should be sufficient straights or gays with the balls to protect guys like that……

    Where are all the brave ones ?
    Where are all the courageous ones ?
    Are all straights terrified out of their wits to stand up for other ? …..straights too terrified of being thought fags ?
    Everyone terrified about Facebook ?
    Who gives a $hit about Facebook……Get rid of Facebook.

    Yes, I blame the cowards of the High Schools……the straights, the jocks with no balls,the hangers-on, all terrified to stand up for what they know is right.

    What a testimony to great teaching…..ha ha ha.

  14. Robert says

    Say what you want, you ignorant racists, but I have never, nor will ever be bullied. And if ever my life is threatened, you can be damn sure that I won’t go to my grave without taking someone with me. Now…continue with your racist remarks.

  15. ratbastard says

    Puerto Ricans are American citizens. You can’t ‘deport’ someone to P.R., A U.S. Commonwealth/territory.

    An extreme example, but he’s got a point. People need to learn how to fight if necessary, and fight dirty.

  16. Gry says

    We need to face the fact that school as a young adult experience is not “Saved By The Bell” or “Degrassi.” Kids are not likely to do the right thing by their peers, and there really is no shame in being a vicious, sneering prick.

    It’s become kiddie jail — and just like in prison, gays are among the most vulnerable members of the population, with no gang at their back to keep them safe from the horrors of the general population.

  17. Robert says

    Thanks RATBASTARD. I’m not sure how this became an issue of my heritage. I was simply stating that the boy should not have given up so easily. Do you guys (especially you racist) not remember Stonewall? Start fighting back and stop crying “victim”…at any cost.

  18. Vincent says

    Dare I wade into the fray?
    It’s not enough to just offer an ‘it gets better.’ It doesn’t. You have to make it better yourself. The world offers you nothing if you sit back passively; you have to actively make your life better.

    It’s clear that the kids bullied because of their sexuality have the moral high ground–why not use that to their advantage? There’s nothing more powerful than to make someone consider themselves broken on the inside. That is what should be conveyed to them, to fight, as others here have said. I’m not sure a screwdriver to the neck is the best way to go, but there are certainly other ways to retaliate.

  19. says

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

    And this mob mentality is the reality of what a lot of us who came out in our teens went through. You can be ‘accepted’, one on one – you may very well be liked one-on-one, but when more than one person is around, associations with “you” come at a price – namely, the price “others” feel they’ll pay. Can’t get too close to the gay kid, what will it say about you? it’ll say you’re gay, and gay is bad.
    This needs to change, and it’s starting to in more and more places, but not nearly enough and not not early fast enough. People shouldn’t worry about “gay by association” – they should be more increasingly worried about “bigot by association.”

    To all the grown adults on here – consider Coming Out to more people. Co-workers, members of your faith/business/political communities. Why? Because those people you come out to may have children, and gay or straight, those children need to have some form of connection to an LGBT person, even if it’s having PARENTS that can knowingly point to a few openly-LGBT people in their own lives. That’s how we win. That’s how a bullying culture starts to lessen. That’s how parents start having dialogues about LGBT Issues from a more positive place; give a Face and Name to “what gay is” – you could very well safe the life of a young man or woman simply by coming out to your co-workers and people in your communities.

    Every opportunity to Come Out that an adult passes over, they shift that social responsibility and weight onto the shoulders of someone else, and in far too many cases it’s a Young Person.
    We adults need to open the doors for the next generations.

    And if you’re not yet ready to Come Out, no matter where you are or what are you are, at least have the decency and integrity to pose as a “straight person who openly supports the LGBT Community” – anything less is being part of the problem.

  20. KP says

    One thing that stuck out to me is that when questioned about the phone calls, Kenneth shrugged them off so his parents assumed things were fine. To all parents out there, take note: teenagers will not go directly to you with their problems. They will shrug you off or ignore you when things are wrong. If you think your child is being bullied or is depressed, do not take their word for it when they say things are fine, especially if the teen is recently out of the closet. This is not the first time a gay teen has committed suicide and the parents afterwards said the teen acted like everything was alright.

  21. Tom Stoppard says

    I was bullied at school for a couple of years, and I did consider suicide as an option. I didn’t tell a teacher or other adult because I was ashamed that I would be seen as even weaker by even more people. Ultimately, the bullies went too far – busting open my head in class and making it bleed, which made it impossible for me to hide it any more. After that, the bullies were dealt with and my life improved. A couple of years later I left school and never had to see any of the bullies again.

    The key here is getting people who are bullied to not feel like they’re weak or a failure. We need to re-brand the act of telling on the bullies as a courageous act. And we need to make sure that those in authority treat bullying seriously.

    Bullied people often feel so depressed that they lose their grip on reality and can’t ever see things changing. So if you’re reading this and you’re being bullied – tell someone! Don’t pretend it’s not a big deal. You don’t deserve this, and you’re not weak if you’re bullied.

  22. ratbastard says

    What Tom said. Kenneth may have been embarrassed, didn’t want to appear to be a ‘baby’, whatever. Organizations that use institutionalized bullying even humiliation [think frats for example] count on this aspect of human nature, especially from boys. No boy, even gay boys, want to be thought of as ‘weak’ or a ‘girl’.

    I’m sure Kenneth’s girl ‘friends’ meant and mean well, but he needed something more than that in his life.

  23. says

    KP – exactly. I was making this point to my family a few years ago when we sat down to really talk about my childhood experiences with anti-gay bullying. They kept saying “you should have told us” and I kept saying to them “you’re expecting too much from a 9-14 year old if you think the solution to the problem is them coming to you to tell you that they’re being bullied and called a fa**ot every day”
    Parents need to open their eyes, not to just to see if their kid is being bullied, but if their kid is THE BULLY.

  24. Brian Engel says

    These stories make me cry! I’ll admit it!….Real tears!

    I’m a straight senior citizen who’s been gay friendly since I’ve known what “gay” was! I’m sorry, but I don’t HAVE any answer for this. No, it’s not just a “gay issue.” Think of all the “skinny runts” the “fatsos” the “nerds” that poor kid in a wheelchair/on crutches. Yes, we ALL suffer. Yet, it seems the gay community gets the unproportionately large share of this.

    Please posters, allow me to address the SCHOOL BOARDS here. If I were a teen today I’d like to know why I’d be suspended for wearing a “Gay is OK” t-shirt, yet when I bully an innocent kid to commit suicide, nothing happens to me. “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” (Mark Twain) Any answers? Quit hiding in your offices! Step out here in front of the cameras/microphones and start answering our civilized questions! Are you afraid of being “bullied”? Are you afraid of looking stupid or “nerdy”? Come on school board members! Pull you heads out of the clouds, the sand (and that part in between!) Show us how “tough” and “right” you really are!

    I truly believe this action would prove more useful than, it’s the “____’s” fault! Let’s demand answers! No falling for that “We’re investigating the situation,” “We’re reviewing this,” or “We’ll get back to you on this.” They don’t! They run and hide, hoping everything will “blow over.” We have to keep after them….constantly!….For YEARS if necessary. Keep after them until they “show” and start answering questions!

    Posters: Put out the school’s website! Let’s fill their “In Box” with questions we want answered. Be polite. Ask civilized questions. Questions you KNOW they’re afraid to answer!

    “First God created idiots….This was for practice….Then He created school boards.” (Mark Twain)

    “If Jesus were to ever return to this earth, there is one thing he wouldn’t be, a Christian.” (Mark Twain)

  25. TJ says

    Again, so sad. Again, so many thoughts.

    As I’ve said before and has been said above, parents must believe and not believe their teenagers. Teenagers can make it very difficult to pry, and easy to encourage independence. But being ready to be independent is a transition and a process with a long learning curve.

    Teenagers want to fit in, even when they rebel. No one wants to be unique all alone (example: Goths. Variations on a theme of black and extreme hair).

    Anyone remember being a freshman? In my school system, middle school was seventh and eighth grades. High School started with freshmen. One went from head of the school to the bottom of the heap, an extremely vulnerable time. Despite wanting to develop individually, one also didn’t want to be rejected any more than was, well, necessary to the pecking order. For some, making transitions can be extremely stressful. And some are better able to cope, for whatever reasons, with that stress.

    So this poor kid came out as a freshman. Raw meat to bigger, older, established-in-the-pack kids. It would be hard to also become raw meat by coming to his defense, for reasons stated above. It would also be hard to survive under the best of circumstances. And survival is ultimately what matters. When I was a teenager, I actually never heard of kids committing suicide – not that it didn’t happen, I just didn’t know of anyone, or hear of it. It was not in my realm of readily accessible, at least in terms of awareness, options. While a kid today may not know of anyone personally, I would imagine that most are aware that it has gone from improbable to possible as far as awareness of options. And we all know how unaware of consequences teenagers can be.

    I personally think that until the we as a society become more enlightened and less tolerant of bullying and the lives it destroys, it is unwise for kids who don’t have the best of support systems to come out. A 13 year-old, and even older kids, aren’t ready for the responsibility for their choices. We don’t allow 13 year-olds to drive, to vote, to marry. I’m tired of reading these stories. As adults, we have to do more. As teachers and school administrators, we must do more. Unless standing up rather than not rocking the boat is encouraged and rewarded; until being a hero is cooler than being cool, until we set the example that all people have value, we must reach out to gay youth and say it Gets Better, But Better Takes Time – and power, and survivals skills. No more sacrificial lambs. Stay safe, until you can bear the consequences of coming out, until we do a better job of protecting you.

  26. anon says

    There are no, as far as I know, anti-fat hate groups of any formal sense, but fat kids are the most likely ones to get picked on and/or bullied (their size does inhibit physical abuse I would imagine). While scarred for life, fat kids generally don’t have higher rates of suicide. However, you don’t become fat overnight, so there are some distinctions. So, it’s not the hate groups and grown-ups that are responsible for the bullying, it’s the immature kids, and it’s not the bullying that causes suicide. Also, keep in mind that with 80 million kids in the US alone, and perhaps 4 million gay ones, even a few thousand suicides per year is not a large percentage. More gay teens die in auto accidents.

  27. TJ says

    Fat kids aren’t necessarily rejected by their families. Fat kids aren’t told that they are abominations in the eyes of god. Fat kids can lose weight. To say bullying is not correlated, contributing, or sometimes preeminently casual when it comes to individual decisions to commit suicide is silly.

    We have driver education because we think it’s important to save lives. We have public service messages against texting and driving. We also warn kids about STD’s, about substance use. We have concerns for the increase of diabetes rates in overweight kids. We don’t just look at one area of concern – death in car accidents – and put all our energies there. We claim, at least, that all lives are important. We try, albeit ineffectively at times, to save as many lives as possible. Numbers are just statistics until someone you know is among those counted. Then it doesn’t matter if it’s just one.

  28. Bill T. says

    I think there needs to be a stronger connection between adults and children.

    I suggest this as I have several nephews and nieces. A big part of my relationship with them is ensuring that we have an ongoing dialog about what it’s like growing up–both my experience and theirs.

    It requires showing up, being present in their lives and continually checking-in on all things related to them. While not easy given competing obligations, it makes me feel good to think I may be helping bridge that very challenging period they MUST all go thru. I wish I had someone to look in on me like that when I was growing up. (1980’s).

    Best part, as they’ve grown older they have become friends. Real friends.

  29. Kevin says

    The solution is obvious and right before everyone’s eyes. You start a nationwide campaign to encourage peers to step forward and stop the bullying. Bullies are basically cowards and so when was the last time you saw a bully beat up a group of his peers? Males & females step forward and this stuff stops. And if the bully is in a ‘group’ then you form an even bigger group. Hold hands, make a circle around the victim. You do do this, or you can sit by/walk by, ignore and feel lousy about yourself later for not doing anything-your choice.

  30. Brian B. says

    congrats to NOM, focus on the family, religious bigots, and the vast majority of republicans across this country. your hateful rhetoric, which legitimizes this type of bullying, has contributed to another suicide.

  31. mcNnyc says

    My jaded NYC heart was unprepared for the beauty of his smile.

    And I fear that reading some of the usual digesting comments that get posted here will be even more offensive to his memory.

    So I won’t.
    I wanted to take just a few moments of my life to reflect on his.

  32. says

    If you can’t stand up in every religious institution and clearly state that all people are equal this will NEVER change and it will NEVBER get better. The supremacy campaign needs to confronted to be ended.

  33. Jim says

    A lot of times the bullies ARE the teachers/staff/parents, that’s why it’s hard to get a lot of adults on board. Children are thrown into an anarchy every day run by adults who are essentially just big kids.

  34. Hollywood, CA says

    Gay kids have got to toughen up. Kids who are racial minorities seem to be tougher on a whole, because their living situations/surroundings tend to be more hostile. So, how do we make these gay kids have thicker skins, while also changing the school system and laws? It can’t all be left in the IT GETS BETTER project’s hands.

    Parents, if you have a kid who you know can’t defend himself, is weak, and is gay, sign his or her ass up for kick boxing or some form of martial arts. It will at the very least help boost their confidence and they will be able to defend themselves against these bullies.

  35. says

    Hollywood, what about the kids whose parents don’t want a gay kid?

    Or the kids who raise their kids to be anti-gay bullies?

    It’s not just about teaching kids to have thicker skins, it’s about attacking the root – that being gay is seen as something worth of derision. And at this point in history, schools and governments need to step in. Truly. Children are being raised to hate.

    The solution cannot be a culture where everyone behaves like a neanderthal and resorts to lowly fist fights. That’s the mark of an unintelligent mind. By all means, defend yourself – but that’s a band-aid.

  36. Tisla says

    tích čo zapríčinili smrť takého krásneho chlapca je treba bezpodmienečne potrestať a podľa mňa nijako ináč než smrťou!!!Za to že ho spolužiaci šikanovali môže v prvom rade riaditeľ a celá škola.Takú školu je treba zrušiť a kompetentných poslať kydať hnoj a nikdy ich nepustiť učiť deti!!!To nie sú učitelia ale obyčajné teroristické skurvené svine a takých treba bezpodmienečne likvidovať!!!Spolužiakov do jedného by som zavrel najmenej na 150 rokov!!

  37. Lisa Orchow says

    This horror has to stop! Schools need to provide education not only for racial relations but for gay relations as well. These
    students are among our most creative and talented members of their classes. Football only last a few years, art last forever!

  38. jim says

    This poor, poor child! Once again it’s happened, and I’m sad and simply angry.

    “‘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.”

    Sorry, but when your kid just came out a month ago, and this is your best response, it seems like a shocking absence of parenting skills and sensitivity! Gay teen suicide has been all over the news for well over a year now. If you’re a parent who loves and accepts your child, and he’s a FRESHMAN who had the courage to publicly come out, the first thing you should have done, as soon as he came out, was immerse yourself in methods of support and become VERY proactive and interactive–to the point of quasi-intervention in the kid’s life.

    Same with the schools–this remoreful, reactionary “clean up the mess” attitude after a bullying-related incident occurs is unacceptable at this point. Every damned school in this country should be proactive and on the offensive by now. Enough with the head-in-the-sand “sexual” morality bullsh*t excuses, and flat-out negligence regarding what’s going on in the lives of the students entrusted to you!

  39. says

    I certainly hope the executives, managers, employees, affiliates and supporters of The Motion Picture Association of America are feeling a sense of gratification for having placed an R-rating on the documentary “Bully” so all of the kids who need to see it cannot see it. There is a cultural cancer infecting our youth. I hope everyone affiliated in any manner whatsoever with The Motion Picture Association of America are feeling powerful and proud – you killed another kid!

  40. David Hearn says

    What we need is for the HRC to actually do something USEFUL. An HRC SWAT team, kids could call a national number and KNOW that there were adults ready, willing, and able to help.

  41. David Hearn says

    We need to strike at the heart of high school anti-gay bullying and in doing so will make huge headway into it in society.

    Force these coaches to get on board or get out. High school sports is where homophobia get’s its greatest support. Coaches insulate the players, the locker room is a danger zone in any school. A stake through the heart is what is called for. ALL high school coaches need to be ordered to comply or find work elsewhere.

    The Fellowship Of Christian Athletes needs to be forced to take a stand against homophobia as well. It’s bad enough that there is such a thing, but to not use it to our advantage would be wasteful.

  42. BeachBum says

    Wow all of you are so right! But, typing about it is NOT solving the problem, Get up and go to your schools principals and get an anti – Bullying campaign started ! When YOU hear someone saying something derogatory (anywhere) Step up and say something or get HELP and do something don’t just sit here and talk about iut. IT WILL take action. And yes to those that have criticized the “”christian Churches” They are at fault too! Take a stand! the evangelizing preachers teach hate to the adults and they carry it home. Also please remember as reported by HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and Equality California, Proposition 8 a Hate Bill against GLBT people was financed Largely by the “Mormon Church” There is a DVD available about it through HRC.

    WE all have to step up and be counted. WE all straight or gay need to take steps to do something. I am going to go meet with the publisher/editor of our local newspaper in the morning. (we are a small town {Island} too. 55,000 people)

    But I will get up and do something, Won’t You too ? PLease! ?

  43. Old Dan says

    “”another trophy for the christians.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Apr 17, 2012 9:02:26 AM””

    I more than fully agree with youDannyEastVillage.

    On an other website I made a series of comments about kids killing themselves because of bullying. I dared say that to solve the problem we had to go straight for the root of all that hate and bigotry, religion. I got blasted! No surprise there because of how brainwashed christians are. They just don’t get it. Any religion calling an other human being less than human should either be banned OR maybe RETHOUGHT as to what it stands for. At the very least it should be made accountable for the death of a kid due to its teachings.

  44. Derrick Pinter says

    In my school, I’ve taken the initiative to tell on people if I see them doing an act of bullying. It has tremendously helped the teachers become aware. However, there are those who don’t do anything, and it is the fault of the one who doesn’t do anything if you want to blame someone.

  45. Derrick Pinter says

    In my school, I’ve taken the initiative to tell on people if I see them doing an act of bullying. It has tremendously helped the teachers become aware. However, there are those who don’t do anything, and it is the fault of the one who doesn’t do anything if you want to blame someone.

  46. Derrick Pinter says

    In my school, I’ve taken the initiative to tell on people if I see them doing an act of bullying. It has tremendously helped the teachers become aware. However, there are those who don’t do anything, and it is the fault of the one who doesn’t do anything if you want to blame someone.

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