ONTD Political

Iowa paper devotes front page to fighting bullying.

8:27 pm - 04/22/2012
TRIGGER WARNINGS: HOMOPHOBIA, BULLYING AND SUICIDE

In a rare and forceful act of advocacy, an Iowa newspaper devoted the entire front page of its Sunday edition to an anti-bullying editorial after a gay teen committed suicide.

Relatives have said 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. suffered intense harassment, including threatening cellphone calls and nasty comments posted online, after coming out to family and friends about a month ago. He died April 15 from what the local sheriff's office described only as a "self-inflicted injury."

The Sioux City Journal's front-page opinion piece calls on the community to be pro-active in stopping bullying and urges members to learn more about the problem by seeing the acclaimed new film, "Bully," which documents the harassment of a Sioux City middle school student. It notes that while many students are targeted for being gay, "we have learned a bully needs no reason to strike."

"In Kenneth's case, the warnings were everywhere," the editorial said. "We saw it happen in other communities, now it has hit home. Undoubtedly, it wasn't the first life lost to bullying here, but we can strive to make it the last.

Editor Mitch Pugh said the newspaper has run front-page editorials before but has never devoted the entire page to one.

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The original editorial which ran in the Souix City Journal today, can be found here.

I wish the writer would have taken a stand against homophobic bullying specifically, since it sounds like that is what killed this kid. Saying "we have learned a bully needs no reason to strike" really doesn't sit right with me...
nekomika wall of text, tw: homophobia23rd-Apr-2012 04:38 am (UTC)
The West Side of Iowa is like night and day compared to the east side, especially around Iowa City

Writer was way too much of a coward to say anything. This is honestly becoming a case of everyone saying things like ~Oh we should've seen the signs and done something about it that poor boy~ when most of them are the ones throwing the insults and saying the things that drove this kid to the brink in the first place.

Contrary to popular belief, outside of the safety bubble of Iowa City and to some extent Cedar Rapids, Iowa is not gay friendly. Bullying is seen as a right of passage and the policies in place [In my experience with Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City] put up to ~combat~ bullying [primarily 1 on 1 confrences between victim and abuser with a staff member "supervising"] can and sometimes are worse than the actual bullying. There's another article circulating about a Cedar Rapids Highschool's supposed response to gay students and it's a load of PR; you can take a same-sex partner to prom but you can't even hold hands between classes, let alone hug at the end of the day without harassment from both staff and other students

Call me cynical but this is a load of hot air. Nothing's going to get done about this because, on top of this being the ~politically correct~ thing to do, you're going to have the stubborn ass idiots who say this kid called it on himself or was over emotional and killed himself because it was trendy. I say that within a week we'll have a response letter to the editor piece about how this quote unquote "bullying" problem is all the liberal's fault.

Sorry for the tl;dr, I've seen as both a queer woman and a preservice teacher how bad my state is with these things and seeing white washed stories like this just makes me seethe.
romp Re: wall of text, tw: homophobia23rd-Apr-2012 04:59 am (UTC)
I'm sorry. We expect generational change--and there's been a lot--but that dries up in very conservative places where kids are raised not only hearing the bullshit but being exposed to little that says otherwise.
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