Photo by Robynlou8
By Jessica Kelmon, Associate Editor
No matter how (un)popular you were in high school, Whitney Kropp’s story hits home.
Imagine this: she’s sitting in math class as the homecoming court is announced over the PA system. She’s surprised – and thrilled - when she hears her name in the homecoming line up.
"She's just sweet. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body," Whitney’s mom, Bernice Kropp, told The Detroit News (as reported in a wonderful article, “Town turns tables on school prank”).
But the surprise quickly turned into a nightmare: it turns out that Whitney was picked as a joke. The 16-year-old found out, via Facebook and word of mouth, that “popular” kids put her name in the running as a prank. Hysterical: an unpopular girl in the homecoming court! Right?
Wrong. But what makes this act of bullying different is that it wasn’t hushed up or ignored. Covering up incidents of bullying ostensibly protects the victim, but it can also send the message that the bullying target is somehow at fault; it also lets the bullies off the hook. But that’s not what happened in this case. Instead, Whitney’s sister told her friends, who told their parents, who told their friends, The Detroit News reported.
Word spread and people rallied around Whitney in support. Someone created a Facebook page in support of Whitney, and it has more likes than the rural Michigan town has residents. Local business owners are donating their specialties so Whitney will have her hair and nails done, new shoes and a gown, a nice dinner, and even a tiara to wear. But it doesn’t stop there: Friday night’s game promises to be packed with residents wearing orange “Team Whitney” t-shirts.
The overwhelming support is heartwarming, and the outright rejection of 1980s John Hughes-esque high school meanness is inspiring. I love how this town has turned the tables on these small-minded bullies; this kind of community support is what could finally put an end to bullying once and for all.
Do you think this could happen in your town?
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