TODAY | September 25, 2012
>> of course, fast approaching at high schools across the country, and in one michigan town it's led to a painful prank on a young girl , but to her surprise the community is now rallying around her. nbc's kevin tibbles is in west branch , michigan with the story this morning. kevin , good morning to you.
>> reporter: savannah, high school sophomore whitney kopp says she was surprised when fellow classmates voted her on to the school's homecoming court, but she adds it's what happened afterwards that has broken her heart. 16-year-old whitney kopp has learned firsthand the lows and highs of high school . never considered herself part of the in crowd so she was surprised students had voted her to the homecoming court.
>> never thought i would be part of it because really it's just for like the big popular people.
>> reporter: but the sophomore's happiness turned to humiliation when some students told her it was all a cruel joke.
>> some kids thought it would be funny to put me in there as a joke to make fun of me.
>> reporter: it hurt because whitney says a few years back she was the target of bullies.
>> one year some kids decided it would be funny to kick me in my shins with steel-toed boots because i was different.
>> reporter: so when this happened, it brought back painful memories.
>> you know, i felt like i wasn't worthy, like why even be a part of this community, this world, if -- if i'm just going to be tossed around like basically a piece of trash?
>> reporter: whitney 's mom told her one way to get back at the bullies was to turn the tables, to persevere and go to the dance.
>> it takes a lot of guts, a lot of guts to do that.
>> reporter: and she's going to do.
>> and she's going to do it.
>> reporter: many in this rural northern michigan town agreed, and they came together. a local hairdresser is doing her hair for free.
>> here's this bright young girl , very pretty, you know why? why would anyone pick on her?
>> reporter: and her gown has been donated.
>> i honestly hope that the kids will take this and kind of learn from it.
>> reporter: student jade cameron who attends a different school couldn't believe what whitney has endured.
>> it's horrible. it just makes me mad because it's not fair. you don't do that to someone.
>> reporter: a facebook page set up to support whitney has gotten thousands of likes with its stop bullying message.
>> maybe you're showing the bullies you're better.
>> i'm excited to go because i can prove everyone wrong and say, you know, i'm not this joke that you thought i was. you guys doing that made me stronger, and i've got more self-esteem than what i had.
>> reporter: an investigation into all of this is under way at the school, and the superintendent says all school officials are very proud of whitney and all the other members of the homecoming court, and let's just hope whitney has a great time at the dance this weekend. savannah.
>> we sure hope so. kevin tibbles in west branch , michigan . thank you. 34 minutes past