Homecoming for Whitney Kropp: Even the opposing team came out in support

Whitney Kropp at homecoming last night. (Facebook)

Whitney Kropp at homecoming last night. (Facebook)

Bullied Michigan teen Whitney Kropp triumphed at homecoming Friday night  where even fans of the other team supported her — showing up at the football game in her favorite color orange.

Her case — which we discussed earlier this week – has attracted supporters worldwide. Whitney was elected to the homecoming court at her Michigan high school as a joke by some mean classmates, but she turned the tables on them and emerged a national heroine after her hometown rallied behind her and a Facebook campaign was launched.

From the Detroit Free Press

Cheers erupted and cameras flashed Friday as Whitney Kropp stepped onto her high school football field as a star. “I’m overwhelmed,” she said later, with flowers in her hair and the straps on her red, ruffled dress sparkling under the stadium lights.

Kropp, a 16-year-old sophomore, made headlines this month when she decided to join Ogemaw Heights High School’s homecoming court, despite being nominated as a joke. Many people around West Branch, as well as across the country, praised her courage and embraced her anti-bullying message.

Whitney’s supporters donned orange, her favorite color, as they cheered her on from the stadium stands. Students from Cadillac, home of the visiting team, were in orange. “We support her,” said 13-year-old Molly

“There’s definitely a different mood,” 61-year-old John Young said before the game as he hawked raffle tickets near a man grilling hot dogs. “People came here together to support her.” And when halftime finally arrived, the marching band played and a pickup carried Whitney around the track that surrounds the field. She carefully stepped out and turned toward the crowd, beaming.

Whitney said she has a message for victims of bullying. “The kids that are bullying, do not let them bring you down,” she said. “Stand up for what you believe in, and go with your heart and go with your gut. That’s what I did, and look at me now.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

60 comments Add your comment

Beverly Fraud

September 29th, 2012
10:06 am

Would that teachers also have an advocate for them when they faced bullying from abusive administrators whose mindset never evolved from high school.

The APS administrator for example who made a teacher crawl under a table; where were PAGE and GAE on THAT issue?

Nice to see that sometimes good people DO stand up in support of those who have been wronged.

Pride and Joy

September 29th, 2012
10:12 am

Beverly Fraud, just once can you address teh topic at hand instead of blogging the same message about discipline? Bullying of students is a huge problem in schools. We need to focus on it. We need to cure it. This anti-bullying message on this blog made headlines in a good way. Let’s celebrate it and focus on the entire reason schools exist — for the kids.
Let’s focus on the kids for a change on this blog. (I really like your posts but just this once, focus on the kids.)

Name (required)

September 29th, 2012
10:27 am

Haven’t heard of this story til now, but how exactly was she “bullied”? (which is a GROSSLY overused phrase by the media lately) She’s freakin homecoming queen. If this was truly a “bully” situation, why did teachers and administrators let her remain on the voting ballot? Something about this story isn’t adding up.

robert eedy

September 29th, 2012
10:27 am

Seems to me your mind set never evolved from grade school,you babby.

kyle (require)

September 29th, 2012
10:38 am

she had been bullied in school a lot and the people who nominated her for homecoming candidate thought it would be funny to nominate her, then afterwards told her it was a big joke

bbmcrae

September 29th, 2012
10:48 am

Hey “Name (required)” : She was picked as a joke so the other kids could laugh at her, and they expected her to withdraw. Makes lots of sense as a bullying situation, and teachers and administrators have often been less than vigilant in responding to these situations.

You need to understand that when you say things like “Something about this story isn’t adding up”, you don’t sound like a eagle-eyed internet detective, you just sound clueless.

Mikey D.

September 29th, 2012
10:55 am

@Name
Go back and click the link in the article and you can read all about it.
Also, if it was your child being bullied (the worst of which, by the way, is NOT of the physical kind) then I doubt you’d be trying to pass it off as a creation of the media…

KIM

September 29th, 2012
11:10 am

This same scenario happened in my high school in 1963 long before the word “bully or bullied” became part of every day talk about schools. It was horrendous in 63 and still is. In our case, a good friend of the girl helped make up and dress the girl into a beauty..;.which she naturally was inside and out. The girl was perceived “less” than some of the bullying boys, who now cannot hold a candle to her in character…not then, not now. I oftentimes wonder what must have gone through her mind as she cared for an ailing mother, being substitute mom to younger brothers and came to school with tears in her eyes facing the boys every day. It must have been her private hell. Good luck to the young lady in this case…and in all cases where an annointed crowd ruins your daily walk. And quite frankly, as a retired principal, to all you parents who came to my office ranting that your child was charged with bullying and said the other student should have sucked it up and gotten used to kids being kids, I can now say, “Go to Hades!!!” Interpret that how you wish.

Dekalbite

September 29th, 2012
11:17 am

Bullying by mean girls is real and devastating. My daughter was a victim of mean girl bullying in 4th and 5th grade. If I had known it was going on, I would have moved her to a different school, but the victims rarely tell (she didn’t until it stopped in 6th grade when they moved on to some other girls). She felt it was something she brought on herself and tried to solve it by herself.

Every parent of a daughter should read “Odd Girl Out” by Rachel Simmons.

Bullying is not just physical. In fact, perhaps the most devastating bullying occurs with verbal and actions and reactions toward the victim.

Retired teacher

September 29th, 2012
11:22 am

Thumbs up Whitney!!!! A similar situation happened in the district where I was employed about 12 years ago. Just as you did, the student stood strong (also 10th grade) and much to nasty students involved, everyone supported her just like they did for you. Stay strong and keep smiling.

Joao S Veiga

September 29th, 2012
11:44 am

The main reason I turned down some opportunities to move to the US (which I love, respect, and admire) is that my wife and I worried about our kids growing in the harsh “teenage ecosystem” you have there. Yes, Brazil has many problems, but bullying at USA levels is (yet) rare here.
Maybe it’s a bad side effect of the highly competitive drive which on the other hand makes the USA so great, but it is heartbreaking to see a period, which for most of us was the best of our lives, become a torture for so many kids. Unfortunately in the past years we have seen bullying slowly creeping into our schools too. Some are taking steps ahead to stop it before it grows.

Denise

September 29th, 2012
12:26 pm

I saw this story on the news. She was nominated as a cruel joke. She was she, unpopular teen who was picked on. Her mother encouraged her to remain on the ballot and court. When the story was released publicly, the town rallied for her. She was given a complete make over, a new dress and the works. A very happen ending and huge boost in confidence.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

September 29th, 2012
12:30 pm

Thank goodness in this case the community was able to turn what could have been a very, emotionally negative experience to a positive for this young lady. I have never understood people who feel the need to make themselves “more” by putting down others. It exposes an inherent weakness in their “soul”. Apparently, they cannot raise themselves up through improving themselves, they can only do it by trying to tear down others. In the end, such behavior does NOTHING to enhance the attackers, and only reveals their own flaws. It does not make you “more”, it makes you “less”.

Beverly Fraud

September 29th, 2012
12:36 pm

Why hasn’t the system done everything in its power to root out the bullys and deal with them accordingly?

All the “education” in the world WITHOUT consequences is pretty much meaningless, unless people go to EXTRAORDINARY lengths, as has happened in this story.

Foghatdfw

September 29th, 2012
12:52 pm

“Grossly over used term in the media.” Tell that to the millions of kids (Now adults) who lost their school years, the years that should have been their very best in their young lives. It shapes you, it tears you down day after day. I loved my school and wanted so much to be a part of all the activities but never attended one activity, not even my graduation. It was only two years ago, on the 42 anniversary of my graduation that I received my diploma. My first one I tore to shreds in anger and shame. Grossly underused and largely ignored for many, many years, in my opinion.

claytondawg

September 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

A “feel good story” to be sure. Congrats to the community, to the young student, and especially to her mom for supporting her daughter. Now, the kids who pulled this little “prank,” why don’t you guys/gals jump off a cliff and not come back. Yeah, that about sums it up.

Steve Body

September 29th, 2012
1:07 pm

@Name “How exactly was she bullied”?!? “She was freakin’ homecoming queen.”?!? You seem to be suggesting that being homecoming queen makes up for the cruel joke that was played on her in the first place. Let me guess: you wanted desperately to be a member of your homecoming court and saw it as a huge honor and validation…instead of the asinine, low-brow, demeaning experience it actually is. I was my school’s homecoming escorts to our class queen. I thought it was a bunch of crap then and did it only because the girl asked me to. The entire homecoming ritual is nothing more than a livestock show, the parade of genetic randomness that allows the little cutie-pies and their stud wannabe dates to rub their physical “superiority” and popularity in the faces of all those “lesser” individuals. And one of them ever realize that, in five years, nobody will remember or care. It teaches our kids that it’s better to be cute than smart, industrious, determined, and wise; that what matters is attractiveness and a set of straight teeth or perky breasts. It’s long past time that this barbaric ritual stopped altogether. If you don’t understand how she was bullied, YOU are the problem. And not using your name was a very wise move. If people who know you – like an employer or a business associate – knew how shallow and obtuse you can be, there might very well be real-life consequences for your obliviousness.

Jeff A. Taylor

September 29th, 2012
1:10 pm

Another one, closer to home, NC.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/49219895/ns/local_news-charlotte_nc/

The joke is on the insecure cowards who are too dim to understand that technology today can muster an army of thousands to support any supposed misfit or outcast.

Beverly Fraud

September 29th, 2012
1:37 pm

Why wasn’t the abusive principal who made an APS teacher crawl under a table in a faculty meeting fired even BEFORE the cheating in the school was disclosed?

Bullying; not just for kids. Apparently it’s still an APS staple of their corporate culture.

William Casey

September 29th, 2012
1:41 pm

The only way to slow down bullying is to make it “uncool” to bully. Alert teachers and administrators can establish the right atmosphere but student leaders will have to do the heavy lifting.

reread

September 29th, 2012
1:42 pm

@Beverly hey! this ain’t about the aps you tard…it’s about a young woamn who triumhed over some evil…just give her her due and not try to drag a different situation into her 15 minutes.

Truth in Moderation

September 29th, 2012
1:42 pm

Overcome evil with good. This young lady has exceptional parents. Her ability to overcome this social challenge is a reflection of their good parenting skills. Whitney has a bright future! The other students and adults have gained a valuable life lesson thanks to her courage. This type of bullying is rare in the home school community.

Jimbo Fisher

September 29th, 2012
1:51 pm

If these children today don’t face a little adversity in life they are going to get crushed by the real world. We need to take the bubble wrap off and let them deal with it themselves. If mommy and daddy are always there to save them they will never grow up.

catlady

September 29th, 2012
2:05 pm

My daughter, then 16, was sexually bullied in high school. The district (Clarke County, GA) did not have a policy on student on student sexual harassment in 1993! So she stood up to the boys, stood up in front of the school board, and even went back to the school board when the “policy” they came up with made the person bullied put up with MONTHS of it before anything would be done! Some of the boys were football players, some had dangerous girl friends, but she lifted her chin and confronted them, repeating what they said and what they did. It proved a big boost for her sense of self, as she found out that she COULD do something about the mistreatment, that there WERE adults who would listen and help.

She has gone on to become a woman of common sense, strenght, and self-possession, raising a daughter to have the same sort of qualities. She won’t be anyone’s doormat!

Bad stuff can be transformed to good!

catlady

September 29th, 2012
2:09 pm

Would be nice if the girl’s tormentors could be paraded in front of the people in the stadium, and roundly booed and made fun of! As Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes said, “Where is a lightning bolt when you need one?”

Truth in Moderation

September 29th, 2012
2:53 pm

@catlady
Bullying them back would defeat the good that has been done. Even if not publicly by individual name, they have been appropriately shamed by her GOOD response. Whitney’s escort was shamed into doing what was right. Initially, he had refused to escort her, then, when the story became public, he accepted the HONOR. People can repent and learn from their mistakes.

Harvey D. Pooka

September 29th, 2012
3:44 pm

Three cheers (and more, and more, and more in the future) for Whitney! (Comments on this board should be kept to subject at hand – Whitney. If you feel you must stand on a pedestal and beat your own chest, for whatever cause, take it elsewhere.) We love you, Whitney.

CharterStarter, Too

September 29th, 2012
4:26 pm

What an inspiring story! Wonderful community support and great courage by this young lady!

Watchitdaily

September 29th, 2012
4:35 pm

As a middle school teacher, I see bullying on a daily basis. I do everything I can to stop the bullier and help the bullied. There is a lot I don’t see because it is covert and the victims don’t want to tell for fear it will get worse. Bullying is systemic…there are school personnel who don’t want to deal with it and some times weak policies to try to stop it, but unless parents realize that “their little darlings” might actually be participating in it, we’re sunk. I can’t even count the number of times that a child has bullied another, and parents RUSH to their defense instead of getting the facts and dealing with their child.
I also can’t count the number of times that we get NO support from parents for anything UNTIL their child is in trouble. Their reaction is to – finally – email, call or come to the school, not to help us hold their child accountable, but to automatically accuse the teacher, student, or administrator of lying or picking on their child; then, in front of their child, blast any and everyone involved as liars, refuse to have their child have any consequences and threaten to contact the superintendent or to sue all the while widening the smug smile on their childs’ faces as mommy and/or daddy gets them out of trouble – once again…A few of my fellow educators and I have kept track over the last few years of children whose parents ran to their rescue instead of allowing logical consequencesto happen. These kids are almost 100% more likely to get traffic tickets, DUI’s, get in fights, suspended, some expelled, get pregnant, not be accepted by choice colleges, lose sports scholarships, become dependent on drugs and alcohol, commit suicide, or fail at most relationships. They have NO idea how to handle lifes challenges, and believe that “it will never happen to them” and “they are owed everything.” People, it’s time to wise up…we are doing NO ONE any favors – it might be easier to live with your little darlings if you always say yes, and don’t have to hear them whine, but if you won’t as their parents, why should I have to as their teacher??? You want to know why bullying is such a problem now, look in the mirror…

catlady

September 29th, 2012
6:06 pm

Truth: I don’t call it bullying or shaming; let’s call it “recognizing their contribution” LOL

Janet

September 29th, 2012
6:23 pm

This girl’s courage brings tears to my eyes.

Carl

September 29th, 2012
6:49 pm

The bullies should be shot.

Archie

September 29th, 2012
7:24 pm

@Carl: That, or an old-fashioned vigilance committee “necktie party!”

Arghhhhhh!

September 29th, 2012
7:27 pm

Dayum can we just stick to her story and let this child shine? @Pride and Joy, THANKS! @Beverly – GEES! Well kudos to this young lady. After reading about 1/3 of the responses I think I will just click off. People can NEVER stick to the subject at hand.

ColonelJack

September 29th, 2012
7:27 pm

As I said in my response to the original story, “Living well is the best revenge.” Having watched the coverage of this fantastic young woman’s triumph over those who would demean her and bring her down because she isn’t “popular”, I say to Whitney — you have served those bullies the dish of shame they deserve. May you live long and prosper, Ms. Kropp!

Oh, and Kim – I agree with everything you had to say, but I’d like to add one word to one sentence. You said “…in all cases where an anointed crowd ruins your daily walk.” I would add the word “self-” before anointed. These “popular” people are such with nobody but themselves.

Arghhhhhh!

September 29th, 2012
7:33 pm

@Pride and Joy, THANKS. @Beverly can we just allow this child this time to shine. What that watusi does your comment have to do with the story. People can we please STICK TO THE STORY AT HAND! You all talk about kids – GEES!

To those asking where was the board and teachers, etc – you try being an educator with the empty kids there are today. I wouldn’t teach for all the gold in the US Mint. Sadly when I read comments posted in response to the AJC’s stories it doesn’t surprise me why some kids are as empty as they are.
Congrats to this young lady.

bc

September 29th, 2012
8:04 pm

B Fraud-this is not about you, stop using this forum for your bully pulpit to make more people resent teachers and education employees. I came to a profound discovery one day: we have a tendency to judge ourselves on our own intentions, but other people don’t know our intentions and judge us on our behaviour. Its about intentions vs. behaviours. I’ll assume your intentions are good. Your actions don’t follow your intentions and discredit your cause. And your delivery sucks. Stop being so abrasive and people may actually listen to you.

mothers conern for clayton

September 29th, 2012
8:13 pm

Congrats I would have loved to have seen the other girls faces :)

bc

September 29th, 2012
8:28 pm

and “bully pulpit” was certainly a pun intended. Whitney-from geeks everywhere, you go girl

Spud

September 29th, 2012
8:36 pm

Great story!

Fan

September 29th, 2012
11:35 pm

Great story. Congrats Whitney!

Beverly Fraud

September 30th, 2012
4:52 am

@Beverly hey! this ain’t about the aps you tard

I believe the story WAS about bullying, was it not?

Tex G

September 30th, 2012
5:55 am

This young lady is the winner. She is very cute and out classed the rest of the field. I hope God continues to bless her for the rest of her life for what she has had to go through.

Pride and Joy

September 30th, 2012
8:30 am

Bev Fraud — the story is about the bullying of children, not teachers.
As I and many others have said — give your agenda a rest and stick to the story at hand — the BULLYING of CHILDREN in SCHOOLS.
By repeatedly hijacking this blog you bring NO one to champion your cause. Instead you are bringing several of us to resent your message.
Is that what you really want?
Because that’s the effect your hijacking is having.
STICK to the topic at hand or don’t blog at all.

Lou

September 30th, 2012
9:23 am

Great Story! Good things happen to good people…

Tap Out

September 30th, 2012
9:38 am

This is slightly similar to the storyline of the movie “Carrie”. Thank goodness this story worked out much better. Good for her.

John

September 30th, 2012
10:20 am

That took a lot of courage and character to do what Whitney did at her age, and this experience will add so much to her beauty, both inner and outer. Good on her mother and her supporters (the opposing side, too! Wow!). As for Beverly F. — Beverly, this story is for YOU! You don’t have to take abuse. Never crawl on the floor on your knees when you can stand on your feet and say. “No, I’m not going to take your abuse.” Any time you choose, you can choose to do what Whitney did.
We all can. And that’s the lesson to be learned here.

catlady

September 30th, 2012
11:29 am

Other teachers: Have you noticed how when it is a parent’s child doing the bullying they were “just playing around” or “boys being boys” but when it is their children being the butt of the bullying it becomes BULLYING with a capital B?

catlady

September 30th, 2012
11:31 am

Sort of like, when “those people” get help it is WELFARE, but when you get it it is “I earned it.”

Dr. Cletus Bulach

September 30th, 2012
11:45 am

An article on bullying behavior and what parents can do about it is at this site. http://issuu.com/woodburymagazine/docs/www.woodburymagazine.net/1