Michigan high school student Whitney Kropp was shocked to learn she was chosen homecoming queen at Ogemaw High School. But her selection was part of a cruel prank that is now backfiring, complete with a Facebook page that has more than 53,000 likes in support of the sophomore.
Kropp, 16, was made fun of before the prank, but not to the point where she thought that being voted homecoming queen was part of a cruel joke.
“I never thought I would be part of it because, really, it’s just for, like, the big popular people,” she told the “Today” show.
After being chosen, the 16-year-old sophomore at Ogemaw High School in West Branch, Mich., was laughed and pointed at in the halls. She was also told that the boy voted homecoming king declined the honor because he did not want to be associated with her, according to the Detroit News.
“Some kids thought it would be funny just to put me in there as a joke to make fun of me,” Kropp said of her classmates at the 800-person high school on the morning show.
The 16-year-old’s mother, Bernice Kropp, said Whitney’s torment didn’t stop after the vote and that her daughter’s classmates continued to bully her on Facebook.
“I felt like I wasn’t worthy. Why even be a part of this community, this world, if I’m just going to be tossed around like basically a piece of trash?” Whitney said to NBC News.
Not only did Whitney decide to attend Saturday's homecoming, she has the support of her neighborhood and a Facebook page, Support Whitney Kropp, sprouted on the social networking site.
The page has more than 53,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon and is filled with supportive messages for Whitney and users’ personal experiences with bullying.
“Hold your head up Whitney -- you are not defined by what others say or think about you!” wrote Krista Scott Milligan.
“Whitney ... what they thought was a joke ... so backfired on them. You are the true Homecoming Queen inside and out, and if people can see you as that ... then it is truly their loss,” wrote Stephanie Wise. “My daughter to was bullied in High School and today after alot of help and work she is truly a beautiful happy person. Don't let them try to bring you down. Because they are not happy with themselves they have to make someone else feel bad. Go enjoy yourself!!! I hope you Dance the night away! Your happiness is all that matters!”
Kropp plans to attend the Ogemaw High School homecoming dance with her boyfriend, whom her mother described to NBC News as “very quiet and supportive through all of this."
Bernice Kropp said she was touched by the outpouring of support for her daughter.
"You want to protect your kid, and you feel angry and mad at what has happened, but at the same time the outpouring to help her has been beyond expected," she told NBC News.
Businesses in West Branch are making sure homecoming will be special for Whitney, with local spots footing the bills for dinner, photographs, Whitney’s homecoming gown and tiara and her hair and nails, the Detroit News reported.
Shannon Champagne, an employee of West Branch salon Whit’s End Hair Studio, was one of many town residents to offer their services to Whitney.
"It really touched me. I can't believe that kids can be so mean and ruthless," she told the Detroit News. "In high school, everything means everything to you. You don't realize that none of it will matter after you leave."