Dannie McMillan, a Lampasas, Texas, high school teen, showed bullies that she’s not taking their insults lying down. The teen turned nasty online taunts into a fundraiser to help endangered whales.
New York Daily News reports that Dannie, 16, a Lampasas High School student, was the target of a student, or students, who hid behind social media to call her names. On a fake Twitter account, someone posted “Dannie is a fat cow.” The now-deleted account had a cartoon whale face Photoshopped onto one of Dannie’s school photos.
Dannie was in study hall at school when she received a screenshot of the Twitter account. Before then, the teen wrote that she had no idea that the account existed. She said the experience was so humiliating that she began crying as she left class.
Bullies called this girl a 'fat whale,' so she put it on a shirt to help actual whales.: When Dannie McMillan... https://t.co/bh3BCKsUhg— PETER MOLYNEUX (@WEIGHTPERFECT) March 14, 2016
“The moment I got out of that classroom, I just started crying. I was just really upset. I think I got angry after a little bit. But, at first I was just so embarrassed.”
Afterwards, Dannie began exchanging Facebook messages with plus size model, Laura Lee. Lee, one of Dannie’s role models, suggested that Dannie’s idea to help whales would be the perfect idea and revenge on her bullies.
“I jokingly told her: part of me wants to cry all day. And, the other part of me wants to get a t-shirt with a whale on it and wear it to school to show that they can’t get to me. And, she was like ‘oh, we should.’”
And so began a joint effort between Dannie and Lee. Dannie began creating a t-shirt design on Booster, a site that helps people create custom designs for charity and non-profit campaigns. The t-shirt features the following message.
“Dee the Fat Whale Saves the Whales.”
Shirt purchases will go to help the California-based non-profit organization, Save the Whales. Dannie also created a GoFundMe page where she’s combining the money with the t-shirt sales to help Save the Whales, according to her GoFundMe page.
“All of the money raised will be donated to Save the Whales an operation founded in 1977 to save endangered whales such as the Vaquita, educate children and people on whales and how to protect them, as well as campaigning against captivity of Orcas. I have requested however that all of the funds raised by my group be used to help protect the endangered whales.”
As of today, $840 has been raised on Dannie’s GoFundMe page, and according to Booster.com, $900 has been raised so far in t-shirt sales.
Dannie’s father, Trey McMillan, told KCEN News that he’s proud of his daughter and hopes that whatever she chooses to do, that she’s happy.
“I just want her to be happy and successful in what she does and be proud of what she does.”
The Cyberbullying Epidemic
According to DoSomething.org, an organization geared towards social change, at least 43 percent of kids have been bullied at least once online. Around 70 percent of students in the U.S. state that they’ve seen bullying happen frequently online, and 81 percent of students feel that bullies tend to choose online because it’s easier to get away with. Cyberbullying is a serious problem, according to 68 percent of students, yet only 1 in 10 students will actually report the abuse to a parent or trusted source.
The most common device used for cyberbullying is a cellphone, which over 80 percent of U.S. teens use regularly. While teens are bullied via text messages, email, and Twitter, most cyberbullying occurs on Facebook.
Dannie Mcmillan’s school hasn’t commented yet on the situation, and so far, no one has been held responsible for creating the fake Twitter page.
[Photo via Shutterstock]