Whitney Kropp is an outsider. You probably wouldn't look twice if you saw her in the halls in Ogemaw Heights. From “Small Town, USA,” a place where black clothes, pink hair and dark nail polish would look out of place and perhaps even strange, Whitney is a 16-year-old girl trying to survive in the most harsh environment on earth:
When casting for this year's Homecoming court was announced, she was confused to find herself on the list among the most popular teens in school. Her confusion turned to shock and frustration when she learned some of the students had orchestrated a cruel joke, inviting her to the spotlight not for her charm or her popularity, but as a barb to highlight her oddity as an outsider.
The boy nominated to stand with her quickly withdrew from court, leaving her to stand alone.
Not long after, while Whitney continued to reel from the sudden explosion of media attention, Support Whitney Kropp groups started appearing on Facebook—the most prominent group, hosted by Jamie Kline, quickly reaching 117,000 supporters.
The entire town rallied around Whitney, and she got the last laugh as a loving community presented her with flowers and a new outfit for court, and had her nails and hair done professionally. It's also been learned that the boy who left court when he learned her nomination had paired them will offer to escort her after all.
On the Support Whitney Kropp group, however, news continues to evolve as other students, even members of other communities, come forward in support of Whitney, offering their own stories about bullying and what it has meant for them to have this outpouring of support—even if it wasn't for them.
Yesterday, Zharia Link of Lincolnton was highlighted on the social media page, having suffered from a copycat attack along with her court partner, who withdrew. In similar fashion, Lincolnton schools took steps to ensure she would have a proper place in her Homecoming court, but one student took it a step further.
Lincolnton student body president Nate Andrews has pressed school principal Tony Worley to investigate the incident under the harassment or bullying policy outlined in their school rules. “I wasn’t going to tolerate that from anybody. ... Most students are welcoming and take pride in their school. It’s a large family. I knew we needed to take care of this.”
For Whitney, though, the story has a happy ending that deserves its place among tearjerker favorites like "Never Been Kissed" and "Miss Congeniality." She walked onto the field for Homecoming already a winner, surrounded by the cheers of the crowd that started with the hundreds of visitors that showed up just to support her, all wearing orange—Whitney's favorite color.