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Anti-Bullying Vigil Held in Cedar Falls In Response to Gay Iowa Teen's Suicide

Community members gathered to remember the life of the gay teenager from Iowa who committed suicide and make a public statement about stopping bullying.


On Friday evening, people from the community met on the corner of University Avenue and Main Street in Cedar Falls to mourn the death of Kenneth J. Weishuhn Jr., and provide a public witness to the tragedy that bullying can cause.

On April 15 this 14-year-old committed suicide after being mercilessly bullied at school and online by classmates for about a month after he came out to his family and friends.  

Two groups in the Cedar Valley, UNI Proud and Working Families Win, planned this vigil to lament the loss of Kenneth Weishuhn and show their support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth who struggle with similar situations.

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Around 40 community members gathered for an hour to stand on the corner of this busy Main Street intersection to hold signs, candles, and wave flags to communicate their message of support and hope for LGBT teens.  

Part of this message was a call to parents, teachers, students, faith leaders, politicians, school administrators, and community members to stand up against bullying.  

"I think people need to stop being a bystander to bullying," said vigil participant Stormy O'Brink.

Many people held signs declaring, "It takes a village to stop a bully."  

In addition, participants in the vigil wanted to give LGBT youth hope that they can make it through difficult times.  

One of the event coordinators, Chris Schwartz, said, "We want to send a message to students to stay strong and get through high school and things will get better."


dan latuff April 22, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Its sad that if it were up to the catholic church and republicans it would not get better for these young gay citizens. When will the rest of us finally march into our churches and elected. Leaders offices and speak the truth to them "YOU ARE CAUSING THIS!!!"
Matt Karau April 22, 2012 at 06:12 PM
That message isnt much, going through it in HS is tough. offering them an email address, phone number, or place would be better. something that they could go to, or use in order to just talk. because having someone to just talk to can make the biggest difference
J Holm April 22, 2012 at 06:21 PM
The kids who bullied him should feel deeply ashamed for the role they played in this. This should NEVER happen. Stop the hate!!!
Cassie April 22, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Where were the parents of these bullies when all this was going on? They are just as responsible as the bullies themselves. It's time to start naming and shaming all involved in events like this. The victims have already paid a price - it's time the perpetrators learnt there was one too
Nan Harris April 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM
It is good to see that some 40 people cared enough to gather and try to make a statement. It would be better to see thousands in a city this size. A few weeks ago about 100 people gathered in West Bend WI to protest the senseless killing of a young black man in Slinger WI by a homeowner who used the new GOP/ALEC sponsored "castle doctrine" defense. While we had some people who showed their support with honks and waves, there were more than a few who drove by and gave us their "middle finger". What? It was a good thing this young man was killed? WTF is wrong with people?
sunsan April 23, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Where were the parents of the bullies?? The real question is where were the parents if the kid that offed himself? His sister went to the same school...she knew what was going on as well
sunsan April 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM
You think every kid who has called someone "gay" or other slurs are catholic Republicans?? Lol...you all better start reading your own kids Facebook posts!
Carl April 23, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Such a tragic lost, but so beautiful too see the community come together to help stop this thing happening again just wish more people would come together to support.
stan wilson April 24, 2012 at 11:55 AM
The real blame goes on the adults who've been fooled into convincing children that homosexual and transgender behavior is natural and normal. A confused child stops questioning their feelings, as they should, and then get a different message from their peers.
CFBusinessOwner April 24, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Gay folks don't need "convincing"----just like I didn't need convincing as a child that I was a heterosexual. I just am. I think it "unnatural" to judge someone's sexuality.
mer April 26, 2012 at 09:20 PM
It was the sister who reported the initial bullying that got the bullies a trip to the superintendent's office and their parents notified. The question is...What did the parents do following their notification?

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