On the surface, it seemed like high school student Daniel Mendez was doing well. He was handsome, caring, on the football team, and his report card rarely showed a grade lower than an A.
Despite Daniel’s many accomplishments, he was bullied for much of his adolescence. His parents, Anna and Danny, believe that the devastating name-calling and physical abuse was at its worst when Daniel was a freshman on the football team. When he was 16, he decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. Teenager Daniel Mendez was bullied so relentlessly that he felt the only option was to take his own life.
While the tragedy surrounding Daniel’s death is great, the Mendez family says that Daniel did not die in vain. After his suicide, students at his high school started the “Cool to be Kind,” campaign, which has now expanded to 15 chapters across the country.
His parents also started the National Association of People Against Bullying, which offers physical and emotional support for the victims of bullying and their families.
While Daniel is no longer present to stand up to bullies, his parents and supporters are helping his legacy survive by fighting in his memory.
Full Frame contributor Sandra Hughes brings us the story from San Clemente, California.