In heartwarming news of the day, 16-year-old Whitney Knopp’s story will give you a little more hope in overcoming any high school drama. Whitney was regularly bullied at her high school Ogemaw Heights. Like any other girl would be, she was pleasantly surprised to be elected into the homecoming court. But when her classmates began laughing as the announcement was made it became clear her nomination and win was meant to be a humiliating prank.
Imagine your classmates being so hurtful and cruel? This level of manipulative bullying creates so much emotional turmoil to overcome, it’s not surprising that many teens end up hurting themselves or taking their own lives. Whitney considered it, she told NBC, “I had actually reached a point where I had thought about suicide for how bad this case was. I thought I wasn’t worthy at Ogemaw Heights at all.”
Fortunately Whitney didn’t give in. Something pretty amazing happened. When her town found out about how crappy these kids were, they collectively took a stance against bullying. They set up a Facebook page, with over 33,000 likes now, to show their support. The townspeople and local business decided to sponsor Whitney’s entire prom experience. They got her a gorgeous new dress, professional makeup, photos, shoes, a tiara, and when she is crowned during the half-time game they will all wear orange–her favorite color–and cheer her on.
The school wouldn’t talk about the issue, so it’s unclear if any of the students will be held accountable. However, punishment is so not the point here. What’s amazing about this story is that Whitney’s struggle wasn’t overcome by punishment or revenge. It was handled with the compassion, empathy and praise of her community. It wasn’t a zero tolerance policy against bullying that turned her experience around, it was real solidarity. No matter how malicious a few people are there are a ton more who really care. This is an important lesson to remember. Those people out there who want to make you feel like crap probably won’t ever change (or at least not for a long time) don’t try to appease them or conform for them. Find the people out there who love and support you, in spite of all the haters.
What do you think of Whitney’s story? Have you ever been bullied? Let us know in the comments!