Victims of bullying, including one who came out at the same age as Kenneth Weishuhn, speak to the crowd.
The death of a 14-year-old Iowa schoolkid in Primghar inspired both outrage and sympathy Tuesday night as about 60 people gathered on the shores of Gray’s Lake, within view of downtown Des Moines.
Kenneth James Weishuhn Jr. came out to his family and peers as a gay teen about a month before his family discovered April 15 that he had committed suicide. Relentless bullying at school and on Facebook filled the final weeks of Weishuhn’s life. His death, coinciding with the arrival of the documentary “Bully” in Iowa theaters, has led to a statewide outcry for more effective anti-bullying tactics in schools.
Four local activist groups that routinely combat bullying — One Iowa, Iowa Safe Schools, the Iowa Pride Network and the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa — convened Tuesday’s Des Moines vigil the same night that others had been scheduled in Cedar Rapids and Davenport.
A previous vigil took place in Cedar Falls, while a “No Bully Rally” is scheduled for today at the Iowa Capitol.