Paper fights bullying on front page
In a rare and forceful act of advocacy, an Iowa newspaper devoted the entire front page of its Sunday edition to an anti-bullying editorial after a gay teen committed suicide.
Relatives have said 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. suffered intense harassment, including threatening cellphone calls and nasty comments posted online, after coming out to family and friends about a month ago. He died April 15 from what the local sheriff's office described only as a "self-inflicted injury."
The Sioux City Journal's front-page opinion piece calls on the community to be pro-active in stopping bullying and urges members to learn more about the problem by seeing the acclaimed new film, "Bully," which documents the harassment of a Sioux City middle school student. It notes that while many students are targeted for being gay, "we have learned a bully needs no reason to strike."
Editor Mitch Pugh said the newspaper didn't consult the family before printing the editorial. "This was a bigger issue than one person," he said.