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Family of gay teen who committed suicide: teasing led to bullying, death threats

Monday, April 16, 2012

Update: An earlier report is here.

PRIMGHAR, Iowa — The family of a gay Iowa teen who committed suicide over the weekend, is speaking out, and say that anti-gay bullying is the reason Kenneth Weishuhn Jr., took his own life.

Kenneth, 14-year-old freshman at South O’Brien High School in Paullina, Iowa, reportedly came out as gay last month. After that, many of his friends “turned on him,” according to his sister Kayla.

Family members said teasing led to bullying, and eventually death threats.

“Mom, you don’t know how it feels to be hated,” Kenneth told his mother, Jeannie Chambers.

Watch the report from KTIV-TV:

Family members said Kenneth’s favorite quote was “be buddies, not bullies.”

Kenneth was pronounced dead on Sunday.

Funeral Services are scheduled for Thursday, April 19, 2012 at the Grace Lutheran Church in Primghar, Iowa.

A Facebook memorial page is here, and a YouTube tribute is here.

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Filed under: Iowa

32 more reader comments:

  1. Kids who bully other kids for being gay need to be permanently expelled. If you can’t respect your peers or at the very least leave them alone, you don’t deserve the privilege of earning a HS diploma.

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:19pm
  2. It is not just the fault of the kids, I agree they should be punished but the behavior is a learned behavior. Parents should also be held accountable for the actions of their child especially if the child or his/her actions cause the death of another person.

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:30pm
  3. Rest In Peace Kenneth Weishuhn Jr.And I Pray For Those Responsible For This,GOD will Deal With Each And Everyone One Them In Due Time!!AMEN!GOD DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE!!!!

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:32pm
  4. bullies should be expelled period. they should have some kind of isolation punishment and if that doesnt work they should be expelled. id say have secondary schools force kids to do labor like community service for 2-4 hrs everyday and send bullies there

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:34pm
  5. Warnings as punishment for death threats?! Mo wonder this still continues.

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:36pm
  6. RIP kenneth i weep deeply whenever i see a story like that…

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:38pm
  7. The teen years are hard enough without having to deal with bullying, and being bullied for something that is a fundamental part of who you are just makes things that much worse.

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:40pm
  8. some ppl say this sick but when a kid dies for being different lifestyle or handicapped mentally ill or otherwise Race etc is sinfull to think anyone needs to die needlessly for being different that is being sick

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:46pm
  9. Not again. Not here. Wake up, folks, to what your kids are doing to other kids.

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 10:57pm
  10. I understand that bullying is terrible, but the kid also should have learned how to cope with the harassment, something that other gay teens, like myself, are or will face someday.
    Just saying

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:03pm
  11. This breaks my heart. I was bullied by other kids about being gay before *I* ever knew I was. My father emotionally abused me, as well, and from that I developed a thick skin. Most people who are bullied, I think, don’t have that “advantage”. My father, inadvertently, helped me, I guess. This is something that I don’t wish on ANYONE. EVER. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:09pm
  12. no, there is no blaming the victim. Some ppl have very raw emotions of every second of their lives.

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:12pm
  13. breaks my heart seeing so many teens getting bullied then killing there selfs hope one day this stops

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:25pm
  14. The best thing a father can do for his gay son is whatever it takes to make the boy as mentally strong as a navy seal is strong and at least as strong as an average straight teen. sure its tough love it has to be so when we arent there yall can handle it

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:31pm
  15. Quit being wussies and toughen each other up. it takes strength to handle bullies. its horrible he died but the answer to keep it from happening again is strength given through love including tough love

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:35pm
  16. One day bigots will look around before saying faggot because they will fear the repercussions just like they currently do with the word nigger. if caught saying it somebody will make their life hell

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:42pm
  17. true Rob, and @ Nick, how can you blame the victum saying he should have learned to cope, it wasnt long ago i was in HS myself, and from then to now its seemingly getting worse. Especially with the amount of technology these days. Kids are always connected to one another from the cellphoens to the laptops. Atleast when i was in school i didnt have contact with my bullies at home. Kids these days dont have that. The technology has compounded the problem, not saying technology is the problem but it has not helped the issue any.

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:49pm
  18. Bullying is terrible, but for some of us it is part of growing up/a life lesson. I was bullied to epic extents in junior high and high school but I feel that it helped shape the person I am today. I am a self confident chick who rebuilds classic cars, breaks up fights, landlords, advocates for the developmentally disabled, and am successfully self employed as an artist. I am a wife, an designer, a chef, a people person, a motorcycle rider, a bicycle mechanic, a girly girl, a tomboy, a house fixer-upper, a gardener, a prankster, a backpacker, a failed standup comic, a mud wrestler, a raygun and robot collector, a coffee drinker, (and a scotch drinker;D ) a writer and aspiring to be a falconer. I also happen to be strait… whatever your situation, find power in your talents, abilities, ambitions, and who you are as a person. It’s so sad to see anyone end their own life because they no longer feel it is worth living for whatever reason but trust me, life is worth living and it gets better. I was once a teenage reject with very few friends. I am now in my 30s and have so many amazing friends who accept me and respect me for the person I am. Be who you want to be but above all be a kindhearted, respectful and decent person. Be bigger than the BS. Survive it. Be kind. Overcome it, and be a living example of how to treat other human beings.

    Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:57pm
  19. well said jessica. you should make a it gets better video if you have not already. very good message there.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:01am
  20. Another victim. I am so saddened. These bigots contribute to the suffering.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:01am
  21. The world is getting sadder and sadder. Do they really think being low life fucks to innocent people will benefit them in their eternal heaven?!
    Someone should give out a sentence for people who bully others, and lock them up for leading others to suicide. Seems like the years arent making people think with their brain and be open minded, it’s actually doing the opposite, the more gays are starting to suffer.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:26am
  22. This world… I have long not wished to be a part of it further. Though I cling to the hope, and try to facilitate some positive change.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:51am
  23. Not again

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 1:49am
  24. Stories like this make me think the GLBT is failing teenagers even with all our efforts. It’s so depressing.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 2:44am
  25. When will it stop? Or will it? Will mankind always have bullies… Those that prey upon others… Is it just our nature? I hope not, but that is how it feels sometimes. What a waste of a beautiful boy.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 2:52am
  26. Oh God once again this has happened…Prayers being offered for his Kenneths SOUL and for his family’s healing…from St. Padre Pio Old Catholic Church today. I will be saying a special Mass for more understanding healing and understanding of these “Hate Attitudes”…we seriously SUPPORT the LBGT community even though so many just DO NOT UNDERSTAND this…

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 3:26am
  27. Omg not again! Poor kids! My heart goes out to the family:-(. I wish we could prosecute bullies!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 4:46am
  28. Makes my heart sad, and the rest of me mad as hell!
    We are failing our community’s..this should never happen to any kid, gay or not. It must be made a criminal offense (bullying, intimidation, threats,etc) R.I.P Kenneth. Condolences to family and friends.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 4:48am
  29. Bullying has to stop

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:25am
  30. From the immortal words of Mrs. Harper (The Color Purple, for those who don’t know) though paraphrased to suit the times: You better beat bullies asses and think about heaven later…

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:30am
  31. Bullying will NEVER stop as long as the State Education Departments refuse to ENFORCE the laws and as long as U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) & Secretary Arne Duncan do nothing to make sure that all students have a right to a fear-free education

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:56am
  32. This has to stop!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 11:34am