Friday, February 10, 2017


"Kenny spent his life trying to tolerate negative words and actions."
Kenny Suttner
The words of the mother of a friend of Kenneth Suttner, of Columbia, Missouri, speak millions of words for the plight of Kenny and millions of others in his situation.

Kenny was bullied in his high school.  He was overweight and he had a speech impediment, two prime sources of material for high school bullies. "A lot of people, kids, made fun of the way — basically everything about him," his best friend Lexie Graves told the local paper.

The high school in question is Glasgow High, and the school superintendent is Mike Reynolds, who told the paper that while he admits that there is bullying in the school, he doesn't feel it was too serious.  During an inquest, Barbara Smith, a mom of another GHS student, said she enrolled her son in a school elsewhere because of how horrible the bullying is, and because nothing seems to be done about it.

The inquest is into the cause of death for Kenneth, who ended his life with a gun just before Christmas, because he reached the limit of his tolerance for the hell he was put through.

Part of the hell came from his job at a Dairy Queen, where his supervisor, Harley Branham, seemed to delight in tormenting the lad.

Ms Branham constantly made fun of Kenny, according to the testimony of Allison Bennett, who also worked at the fast food place. Bennett says Branham made Kenny crawl on his belly while he mopped the floor, and that one time when he made a cheeseburger wrong, she threw the burger at him. 

It's no surprise that Branham said this was all in jest, and claims that young Suttner took it that way.  

Uh huh.

After the coroner's inquest into Kenneth's death, a jury was asked to decide whether his suicide was an accident or a crime. Their recommendation for the local prosecutor was to charge Branham with felony involuntary manslaughter. They also decided that  Dairy Queen was negligent for not training its employees about harassment and that Glasgow High School was negligent in bullying prevention.

Branham, in her testimony, admitted calling the youth an "a-hole," but also said, "There’s a lot of people at Dairy Queen saying I was the reason [he killed himself], but I don’t understand why it would be that way."

Of course she doesn't.  That's why she acted the way she acted.

The DQ store in question
Kids picking on other kids is horrible enough, but corporations and businesses have to be vigilant in hiring, training, and supervising their staffs. It's the old story of the weakest link. A multi-billion dollar business can be wiped out because they turned the keys and the responsibility for properly running a local branch to someone who can't handle that responsibility.

The shame of all this bullying is that we as a nation don't feel much shame about it at all. To the contrary, we elect people who act just the same way as those high school kids!

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