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When my friends and colleagues talk about “the good times,” few of us say we’d like a do-over of our teenage years.
While there may be talks about lasting friendships and life-changing experiences, few adults yearn for a chance to get back to our “glory days.” Well, except maybe to put into play some of the things we wish we knew back then.
Many of the people I know, regardless of age, race or financial status, have stories about the hardships they encountered as kids. There are tales of being picked on for being different. Some have yet to fully heal from that pain—from being too tall or too short, from being too fat or too thin, from being the girl with the weird hair or the boy who dressed too funny.
While they’re among the most formidable times of our lives, being a teen, quite frankly, is hard.
One Michigan teen is making national headlines because of her high school experience.
According to a story out of The Detroit News, 16-year-old Whitney Kropp should have been having the time of her life when she found out she was named to the homecoming court in her hometown of West Branch, Mich.
At first, she was surprised and optimistic, but it didn’t take long for the bad intentions and mean-spiritedness of others to send her to tears.
According to interviews Whitney and her family have done, some ne’er-do-wells wanted to use the nomination to homecoming court as a chance to poke fun at the girl. It had become a chance for others to point out just how different and unpopular the teen .
Whitney also later found out that several classrooms erupted into laughter when it was announced she had been selected for the honor.
Heartbroken, Whitney’s moment of excitement tanked and she was left in tears.
It would have been easy for Whitney to give up. Under the pressure of laughs from other students, who would have faulted her for staying home and hiding from those who meant to hurt her?
But Whitney’s story struck a cord with others. There were adults who heard what happened and Whitney’s story struck a chord with them. Many remembered what it was like to be different or to not be one of the popular kids in school.
The community has rallied behind the teen. Several local business owners have stepped up. They’re donating clothes and have offered to fix her hair and makeup and more.
But what’s more encouraging is that many adults in this small town—some have never met Whitney—plan to come to the school’s homecoming game Friday to cheer her on. They plan to wear “Team Whitney” T-shirts and cheer for her when she is announced with the homecoming court.
A Facebook page has been set up to support Whitney and to encourage others to take a stand against bullying. You can join in at www.facebook.com/SupportWhitneyKropp.
There are many, many more kids like Whitney out there, some right here in our community. Do your part. Take a stand against bullying and remind children in your life that although wounds heal, scars from bullying can last a lifetime.