Students at Ogemaw Heights High School in West Branch, Michigan thought it would be hilarious to elect someone they considered unpopular to the Homecoming Court. Little did they know their cruel bullying prank would rally the town’s support for the young woman who was the butt of their “joke.”
In the small town of West Branch, MI, located a half hour north of Saginaw, the 16-year-old sophomore, Whitney Kropp, won the election. The Detroit News reports that after her election her classmates pointed at her and laughed when they passed her in the hall. The male student who was elected with her, a popular football player, quickly withdrew because he didn’t want to be associated with her. Francis X. Donnelly (email: email@example.com) reported in the Detroit News story. Some cyber bullying was involved, too, in the form of cruel Facebook messages.
Word of the bad joke quickly spread around the town, reminding some alums of bullying they had experienced years ago, as if the bullying had occurred recently, the newspaper reported:
A Facebook support page was created, quickly drawing hundreds of messages of encouragement. The page has more likes (more than 3,500) than the town has people (2,100).
“A bank account was opened for Whitney Kropp’s homecoming expenses but wasn’t needed. So many businesses donated services that everything was covered.”
Local businesses stepped up:
For the homecoming dance Saturday, businesses will buy her dinner, take her photo, fix her hair and nails, and dress her in a gown, shoes and a tiara. For the homecoming game Friday, residents will pack the football stadium so they can cheer when she is introduced at halftime. They will be wearing her favorite color (orange) and T-shirts with messages of support. A 68-year-old grandmother offered to be her escort.
An alumnus of Whitney Kropp’s high school, who was also the victim of bullying as an underclass member, recorded a video in support of her, which appeared on The Huffington Post. Bullying also plagued an alumnus of Whitney Kropp’s high school. He created a video in her support.