It’s rare to devote an entire front page to an editorial, but the Sioux City Journal did just that in response to a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide.
Siouxland lost a young life to a senseless, shameful tragedy last week. By all accounts, Kenneth Weishuhn was a kind-hearted, fun-loving teenage boy, always looking to make others smile. But when the South O’Brien High School 14-year-old told friends he was gay, the harassment and bullying began. It didn’t let up until he took his own life.
Sadly, Kenneth’s story is far from unique. Boys and girls across Iowa and beyond are targeted every day. In this case sexual orientation appears to have played a role, but we have learned a bully needs no reason to strike. No sense can be made of these actions.
Weishuhn’s mother, Jeannie Chambers, told the Journal last week that she and the rest of the family knew he was being harassed but didn’t realize the extent of the bullying. His sister told a local television station that Weishuhn, a freshman, had many friends and was popular at South O’Brien High School in Paullina until he came out. Then students turned on him.