December 19, 2018

Community support helps victim of homecoming prank move on


WEST BRANCH — Support from community members and strangers alike is helping Whitney Kropp put an alleged bullying incident behind her.

Whitney Kropp, 16, was recently voted as the Ogemaw Heights Class of 2015’s homecoming representative, but later found out her nomination was made as a prank.

“A couple of the kids at school told me I was voted in, but I did not know it was a joke until the day after,” she said.

OHHS Principal Duane Lyons said the incident is being investigated and after the investigation is complete, discipline could be in order for the guilty party.

“If we find that there are consequences necessary, we’ll definitely follow through with that,” he said.

The students who pulled the prank have not been identified, Whitney Kropp told the Herald.

Her mother, Bernice Kropp, said she does not know why students decided to pull the prank on Whitney.

“I have no idea why they would do it,” she said. “I just don’t know why.”

Whitney Kropp was considering skipping Home­coming after hearing about the joke, but says now she plans on attending the dance.

Her choice to go to Homecoming despite the incident was the right thing to do, Bernice Kropp said.

“I think she’s actually handled it very well,” she said. “At first she was upset, but then she decided to do it anyways. She said ‘I want to be on the court.’”

When news of the bullying incident got out to the community, a Facebook page was made to support Whitney Kropp, and other community members and businesses have come forward and volunteered to pay for her dress, dance admission and hair appointment. As of Tuesday, Sept. 18, the Support Whitney Kropp Facebook page has 2,285 “likes” and hundreds of messages of support to her.

She said the support from the community has helped her get past the bullying incident, and added that she hopes people can learn from it.

“I feel really good about this now,” she said. “I think with everyone doing this, it can turn a bad situation into a good one.”

Bernice Kropp said the community’s reaction has been inspiring.

“I think it’s an awesome thing,” she said. “I think that, to just embrace her like that, they basically stood up and said ‘We’re not going to tolerate bullying.’”

Lyons said like the community, many students at OHHS rallied to support Whitney Kropp as class representative after they heard the nomination was made as a joke.

“Once this came out, the students were overwhelmingly in support of the person this happened to,” he said. “What started out as a negative thing among a small number of people turned into an overwhelmingly positive thing in supporting this girl.”



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