Originally aired on WNCN-TV – April 25, 2018
After enduring years of bullying, himself, a Raleigh boy is now working to prevent bullying.
Brenden Santos, 12, says his third and fourth grade years were the hardest.
“I was in third grade, pushed in the lunchroom and I ended up with a red mark on my back after that happened,” he recalled.
“The worst one was when he got punched in his face on the bus on the way home and that devastated me,” added his mom, Diana Santos.
He was hit, taunted, and teased until he dreaded going to school.
“It makes you feel small kind of worthless actually,” the boy said.
Brenden and his parents knew something had to be done.
He left his school and enrolled in North Carolina Virtual Academy which allows him to take classes online, but Brenden didn’t just want to change his life.
“I wanted to help fight bullying,” he said.
He wrote the book “Brenden Writes: Don’t Bully Me” along with two other books with messages about friendship and promises.
He also created wristbands with anti-bullying messages and a website, againstthebullying.com.
He says he’s received messages from kids and adults going through similar struggles.
“It makes me feel sad, but also happy they actually had the courage to reach out,” he said.
Both the lieutenant governor and state school superintendent have recognized Brenden’s work.
But what Brenden’s mom says amazes her most is that her son doesn’t just want to help bullying victims, but also those doing the bullying.
“I thought to myself, ‘My child wants to help bullies? He’s on to something,’” said Diana Santos.
Brenden knows everyone deals with some sort of pain and it helps to know others are dealing with the same thing.
Even if bullying is the beginning of someone’s story, Brenden wants them to know it doesn’t have to be the end.
Because bullying does lead to depression and sometimes even suicide, Brendan says his ultimate goal is to save lives.
To learn more about North Carolina Virtual Academy, visit http://ncva.k12.com.