Gay Iowa Teen Commits Suicide Over Alleged Bullying

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Wednesday April 18, 2012

A 14-year-old high school student recently took his own life after being harassed by classmates because he is gay, the NBC South Dakota affiliate station KTIV reported.

Kenneth Weishuhn, a freshman at South O'Brien High School, committed suicide last weekend after allegedly being bullied.

O'Brien County is located in northwest Iowa about 210 miles away from Des Moines.

Last month the teen reportedly told his friends that he was gay.

"People that were originally his friends, they kind of turned on him," said his sister Kayla Weishuhn.

His sister also said that classmates started to tease Weishuhn and claims that boys in her class bullied her brother because of his sexual orientation.

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

Weishuhn's sister told the news station that her brother's bullies took to Facebook and created a hate group against gays and added Weishuhn's friends as members. The Weishuhn's family then received death threats from students at O'Brien High School.

"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, Jeannie Chambers.

"He says, 'Mom, you don't know how it feels to be hated," she said. She also told the news station that her son's bullies were given a warning but the school never contacted her. She added that she wasn't sure if she would press charges against the students she believes caused her son to take his life.

"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.

Councilors from local schools were on hand to talk to students who were impacted by Weinshun's suicide.

"He always made somebody smile. Like, there was not a day that he'd go by and he would not be smiling. He was always smiling no matter what, and he was just an awesome person," Jade Vos, Hartley Melvin Sanborn Freshman told the news station.

"It's sad not knowing what he gets to do, 'cause we all get to grow up and live our dreams, and now he doesn't really get to do that," said Danie Ginger, Spalding Catholic Freshman.

Authorities are currently investigating Weishuhn's death.