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Kossacks, I thought you might like to see this: Town turns tables on school prank Sophomore Whitney Kropp, of Ogemaw Heights High School in West Branch, Michigan, was selected to her school's homecoming court; but only as the butt of a joke.

From the Detroit News article linked above

High school student Whitney Kropp was shocked earlier this month when she was named to the homecoming court. Her happy surprise turned to humiliation when she learned the reason. The students thought it would be funny if the popularity contest was won by someone who was unpopular.

Her embarrassment was complete, but it didn't last long.

This tiny farm town an hour north of Saginaw quickly rallied around her.

For the homecoming dance Saturday, businesses will buy her dinner, take her photo, fix her hair and nails, and dress her in a gown, shoes and a tiara. For the homecoming game Friday, residents will pack the football stadium so they can cheer when she is introduced at halftime. They will be wearing her favorite color (orange) and T-shirts with messages of support. A 68-year-old grandmother offered to be her escort. The Facebook support pagewas created, quickly drawing hundreds of messages of encouragement. The page has more likes (more than 3,500) than the town has people (2,100). A bank account was opened for Kropp's homecoming expenses but wasn't needed. So many businesses donated services that everything was covered.

The issue resonated far beyond the town. It seemed to touch a chord with anyone who had a tortuous experience in high school, which is just about anyone who ever went to high school. Hundreds of people talked about their own experiences. A 60-year-old Wyandotte man talked about a 1966 bullying incident like it happened a day earlier.

What is it with cruelty and high school kids? I remember it, I remember hearing other kids laughing at you, but just under their breath, right? Never so the teacher could hear. I remember picking my books up off the floor, again and again and again and ohyou'reSOmotherfuckingfunny, arent you? I remember being punched in the gut, in the shoulder, in the thigh, in the kidneys when I wasn't expecting it.

I hated it so much. It got better for me by the time I was a senior, frankly my circumstances were very different from young Whitney's, but then again they weren't. Freshman and sophomore year were pure hell. As it says in that article, everything is everything to a teenager. Even though we may know intellectually that all the bullshit doesn't matter one bit in the long run. Still this makes the anguish and embarrassment no less real.

The outpouring of support for this brave young woman is really uplifting, and is something to be emulated. Bullying is cruelty, cruelty is bullying. They are one. And it is a terrible thing for a young mind to experience. That it is so commonplace is an embarrassment of itself.


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