The mother of a gay Iowa high school freshman who killed himself last weekend said she knew her son was being harassed but that she and the rest of the family didn't realize the extent of the bullying, reported The Associated Press.
“When I talked to him, he blew it off like it wasn’t a big deal,” Jeannie Chambers, told the Sioux City Journal.
Kenneth, 14, died Sunday of what was described as a “self-inflicted injury.” The O'Brien County Sheriff's sheriff’s office is investigating, and Chambers said detectives were examining her son’s cellphone, Facebook account and a computer he used.
After Kenneth came out about a month ago to family and friends, he became the target of threatening cellphone calls, voicemails and online comments, his mother said.
His sister Kayla Weishuhn, a sophomore at the school, said her brother’s life took a marked turn for the worse after he came out.
“He was pretty popular, he had a lot of friends, but once they found out he was gay a lot of them turned on him,” she told Sioux City television station KCAU.
Kayla, 16, said some of her classmates were the first to bully her brother.
“I was just really mad because those guys were supposed to be my friends and they were making fun of my brother. I tried to stick up for him a couple of times, but I guess it wasn't enough,” she said.
Dan Moore, the superintendent of the South O'Brien Community School District, said administrators knew of only one incident. “I feel the school did address the issue that they were aware of when it came to their attention,” Moore said. “Obviously, we had no idea that we'd have an end result like this, or what was going on outside of here.”