A gay teen from Iowa has committed suicide after friends and family claim that his classmates sent the teen death threats on his cell phone and created a Facebook group against him full of hate. The student is 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. He went to school at South O’Brien High School, which is where the bullying began after he came out earlier in the school year.
“People that were originally his friends, they kind of turned on him,” sister Kayla Weishuhn said. “A lot of people, they either joined in or they were too scared to say anything.”
The bullying continued on the internet when a hate group was started on Facebook against the teen and other gays. All of Kenneth’s friends were added as members of the group. Then, things really took a turn for the worse when the student received death threats from other students on his cell phone. Jeannie Chambers, the teen’s mother, said that her son said to her, “Mom, you don’t know how it feels to be hated.”
As information about the teen’s death are still sketchy and being investigated, a Facebook group has been created to honor the memory of him. “Unfortunately, the culture most of us have been raised in has been the mindset that you get ‘picked on’ in school and that’s just part of growing up,” a member wrote. “Bullying is like most other crimes, the only way it’s going to stop is if the offenders get caught and are prosecuted.”
Another member of the group wrote the following: “I hate to think of what he must have gone through to decide suicide was his only option. I hope and pray all of these bullies feel responsible for what happened.”
A statement was issued by the LGBT advocacy group One Iowa and Iowa Safe Schools:
“The loss of Kenneth Weishuhn is both tragic and heartbreaking,” wrote One Iowa Interim Executive Director Calla Rongerude. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the Weishuhn family and to the community of Primghar. We all have lost a bright young man with a promising future.”