Daniel Mendez
Daniel Mendez

Saturday: Vigil in San Clemente on Anniversary of Bullied Student's Suicide

San Clemente High School sophomore Daniel Mendez's apparent suicide on May 1 of last year led to a few things: a community in mourning, a lawsuit from his family against Capistrano Unified School District, and a club formed at his high school dedicated to making sure that something like this wouldn't happen again.

Many say that prolonged bullying led Mendez to take his life. That's why the "Cool 2 B Kind" club started up: to raise awareness of and to prevent bullying, violence and ridicule at the high school. 

On Saturday, the club will hold a candlelight vigil to remember Mendez one full year after his death.

Says Mendez's aunt Lucy DiPronio in an e-mail to the Weekly:

My Nephew, Daniel DiPronio Mendez was a victim of Bullyside and took his life on May 1st 2009. This happened in San Clemente, Ca. It is a parallel story in many ways to that of Phoebe Prince. I can't begin to describe the devastation this has caused our entire family and the community. I still don't know where my sister finds the strength to go on...but the below has helped tremendously.

The kids at his high school (Daniel's friends) have formed a club that has received much local and national attention, called Cool to Be Kind or CTBK club, It is basically an anti-bullying club. Their main goal is to spread awareness of the danger and damage of bullying at all levels. We are coming up on the one year anniversary of Daniel's death and they are having a CTBK candlelight vigil. Daniel was an honor student and participated in many sport activities...just a great kid all the way around. The C2BK student leaders/members are looking for sponsors to "support your efforts" and to lend support to the cause. They are not looking for any handouts or money. They just want to raise awareness that bullying will not be tolerated at the school and fellow students have a peer group if needed.

These students are our future leaders and have taken charge of this cause to raise awareness of this societal issue at SCHS since the bullying/suicide death of fellow SCHS classmate Daniel Mendez, May 1, 2009.

The CTBK club can be reached at C2bkclub@gmail.com attn: Reilly Gorman, one of Daniel's best friends. He has shown incredible courage and maturity throughout this horrible ordeal and is at the lead in making his memory a worthwhile cause.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Forster Ranch greenbelt in San Clemente, off of Camino De Los Mares and Calle Nuevo. Parking is available on Via Sage. The Cool 2 Be Kind club had also planned for this past week to be a campus-wide, anti-violence "Blue Ribbon Week" featuring speakers, events and a dance. The Capistrano Unified teachers' strike, though, has forced the club to push those events back to June.


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