Grace Under Pressure: The Little Kropp That Could

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

The trauma many kids face in high school from cruel teenage high-jinx is an underrated psychological pain. Self-described “outcast” Whitney Kropp is a survivor, though. Kropp, who attends Ogemaw Heights High School, thought she had finally gained some social acceptance when she was unexpectedly elected  as sophomore representative to the homecoming court. Sadly, her classmates in rural Michigan had played a cruel joke on her as they made it clear they sought only to  embarrass the 16-year-old with the sham honor. Whitney spent the night in tears and even seriously considered suicide.”I’m like, ‘Wow, I feel like trash,'” Kropp said. “I feel like I’m a little thing that no one really cares about.”

Seeing her pain, Kropp’s family and her handful of friends joined together to support the teen. It was about this time that Whitney decided to make the best of her situation by embracing the job. The town embraced the job, too. Hearing about the prank, a local business stepped up to provide shoes and a gown. A salon in town donated the hair styling. A Facebook page written by her sister, Alivia, to tell the story  garnered 96,000 “likes,”  as well as  a torrent of emails in support.

And with these simple expressions of love and empathy, Whitney Kropp began to find herself.

“It is absolutely awesome to see her stand up,” a beaming Bernice Kropp, mother of Whitney,  said. “And it’s so cool to see e-mails … we’re getting from parents and other students from all over the place telling her stories and how it helped them and it touched them. My daughter is out there as an inspiration to a lot of people, and it’s a really cool thing.”

Whitney’s new-found celebrity came as even a surprise for her. “I thought before, ‘Oh, no one cares about me,”’ she said. “I thought not even my own brother and sister care. But they’re proving me they do care. The world is proving they do, well not really care about me, but they care about the situation. So I’m happy. I’m really honored.”

Last night, Whitney stood before the packed crowd at the high school football game, many dressed in Whitney’s favorite color — orange — to honor her. When asked about what advice she would give to other kids subjected to this kind of bullying embarrassment, Whitney said simply, “I would tell them to be brave.”

Grace under pressure?  Hemingway would be proud.

Source:  CNN and Michigan Live

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

32 thoughts on “Grace Under Pressure: The Little Kropp That Could”

  1. my grandfather used to say the best way to take care of a bully was with a baseball bat.

  2. Elaine,

    That is beautiful…..Thank you for a wonderful ending to this story…..

  3. How wonderful so many came to her side, including complete strangers. Just when you think the amount of empathy and compassion in the world, esp this country, is on the downside this comes along to make you feel maybe there is hope.

  4. I’m sure that many of these bullies have parents and other adults who are important in their lives who don’t set the best example for them. As they say–the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.



    I do think caring teachers and coaches can help to prevent bullying. One has to keep an eye on the kids who seem to enjoy teasing and bullying and being cruel to other kids.

  5. Bullies forget about karma. My daughter is bemused by the fact that some of the bullies from junior high are now inmates. Things sometimes have a way of working out in an arc toward justice. She is a kind-hearted young woman, and would never admit it, but I think there is a certain secret satisfaction in being able to say to a former bully, “Turn around and put your hands behind your back.”

    Most school bullies are just apprentice criminals in training.

  6. Oro Lee
    1, September 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm
    first, thank you for that direct response Oro Lee.
    I don’t undrstand what you mean when you say ‘advocacy of adversaries’.

    [and I must admit that I am speaking non-objectively, from the traumatic legal event that I experienced …in a less than objective court room.]

    What happened to Miss Kropp was an obvious xample of pre-meditated cruelty among her peer group…her response was (to my mind) the complete antithesis of victimhood and in fact enlightening to the entire community….a chance to put the low and base bullies on watch. The outcome was also a group response which gives me great hope for the next generations. But my question was for the Lawyers, and those who help to support that group within the broader and less age defined community. Bullying has become not only acceptable, but prized in that forum. A forum and sub-community which exhibits the same manner of secrecy, peer pressure and closed offness that one sees in dysfunctional families and groups.
    If the behaviour you are supporting and acting out is the evil, how can it be the lesser of two evils and thereby acceptable….when the very existance of the forum is to prevent the evil from the community? …and then take $$$ for it….. ?

    And what do you do when you get it wrong?

  7. “how do you reconcile such socially acceptable, anti-bullying stances on the blogosphere, vs the obviously self-supporting, bully enriching, anti-social atmosphere of the court room?”

    Lesser to two evils — with what would you replace the “advocacy by adversaries, fact finding by juries, and impartial application of law by judge” system of justice? Of course, this is mostly a criminal model. In a civil model, you need to add expensive as hell which shuts out the poor. And is the problem implementation which can be tweaked or the model which needs to be shucked?

    In my locale was a family law practitioner who abused opposing parties: If the opposing party was the wife, she was a lazy, no good whore; if the husband, an abusive, dead beat, profligate. And he addressed them as such.

    At a video taped deposition, an opposing attorney began by reading the rules concerning an attorney’s professional and courteous conduct, and indicated that he would terminate the deposition and seek sanctions if opposing attorney could not conduct himself accordingly. At the ensuing sanctions hearing, the judge informed the attorney that this was his one and only warning. It became standard practice among attorneys to read the rules of conduct into depositions whenever an opposing attorney became abusive.

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