Cyberbullying takes students’ lives

Our View

Last week, a Primgar 14-year-old boy took his own life. Why? Because the incessant bullying that some of his South O’Brien High School classmates attacked him with was too much.

When Kenneth Weishuhn announced to his friends he was gay several weeks ago, harrassment tortured him daily. With shouts of “Queer!” following him in his school’s hallways, he also received near constant harrassment for several weeks. The harrassment stretched beyond the school’s hallways into the realms of cyberbullying. Kenneth received 20 threatening voicemail messages on his cell phone, discriminatory messages on Facebook and insults pointed at his Facebook photos, and even a Facebook hate group. After weeks of this treatment, Kenneth had had enough.

Unfortunately, Kenneth’s story isn’t unique. Bullying, especially cyberbullying, has become a much too common story in today’s high schools. As a society, we need to stop avoiding this issue and take direct measures. Actions, such as the anti-bullying hotline proposed by the the Iowa legislature, are steps in the right direction.

While Cedar Falls has not experienced an event as tragic as a student’s suicide, bullying still goes on below the surface. As students, we need to recognize that actions that may seem harmless can have dire consequences.  Bullying will only stop when tolerance becomes a social norm, not just a suggestion. It will stop when we all learn to appreciate our differences, rather than discriminate against them.

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