While high school wasn’t the best time of my life (we all have our baggage) I was fortunate to attend a school where most students treated each other with kindness. Every year homecoming and prom royalty were voted on by just about everyone, and it was never a surprise when the court was composed of popular kids, athletes, kids from show choir and even kids from special education classrooms. The crowd was loudest with genuine happiness when the prom queen and king were both crowned despite their physical and mental disabilities.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Ogemaw Heights High School in Eastern Michigan, where a sophomore named Whitney Kropp was voted onto the homecoming court only to find out her selection was a big joke…on her. A shy, “free-spirited girl” who doesn’t follow fashion norms or have a large circle of friends was voted onto the court so her peers could mock her. Not only was the sophomore voted on as a prank, but the popular male counterpart she would have been paired with withdrew his name from the court shortly after the results were announced. Whitney discovered that her impending coronation was coming at her own expense, but after having a good cry she was convinced by her mom and friends to stick up to the bullies and show up to the crowning ceremony during the halftime of the big Homecoming football game.
Word quickly spread that Whitney wasn’t backing down to the bullies, and as it turns out, most people were cheering for, not against, her. Local business after local business stepped up to donate a dress, a hairdo, a nail appointment, dinner and photographs of the evening. The entire town has plans to turn out to the game and cheer for her as she is crowned, all while waving signs and wearing her favorite color, orange.
I’m so impressed, not only in Whitney’s courage to stick up to the bullies at her school, but by the entire town standing with her and letting her know she isn’t alone. Being bullied can be one of the most lonely and isolating feelings in the world, but when people speak out against it, its impact is diminished, voice by voice. In this case, the voices speak loudly and clearly that bullying has to stop and is not ok. I hope Whitney’s story gives everyone the courage to speak up in their hometown, school, or work place – you can make a difference. Just ask Whitney Kropp.
Daisy is a lawyer married to a lawyer (insert lawyer jokes here) living in a small condo in a big city with a new baby and beagle. She breaks up the legal-speak by blogging about life in Chicago, which is filled with escapades of urban living. In the summer she enjoys patio dining and in the winter wonders what she was thinking when she moved here. You can read more from Daisy on her blog, Just Daisy.
Image courtesy of Support Whitney Kropp