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Child's death sparks nationwide anti-bullying campaign in Mexico

By Scott Tuttle     Jun 22, 2014 in World
Mexico - When four students from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas attacked 12-year-old Hector Alejandro Mendez, they had no idea the ripples they would make throughout their country. However, the actions of these school bullies sparked a nationwide movement.
The students grabbed him by his arms and legs and beat his head against a brick wall several times.
Mendez, or "Mini," as he was known to his friends, managed to make it home to tell his mother about what happened to him, but fainted moments after. A week later, Mini passed away from complications caused by internal injuries to his brain.
Even in a country that's news is so riddled with tales of death, violence, and extortion, Mini's death inspired thousands in the country including celebrities and the president himself to join a cause known as #ElBullyingNOEsUnJuego, or "Bullying is NOT a game."
Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto paid a personal visit to Mini's family after the incident, and lawmakers in Mexico have two anti-bullying bills on the table.
"The government has made a commitment to make schools free of acoso escolar...what is known publicly as bullying," said Peña Nieto in a Tamaulipas speech.
According to Ministry of the Interior official Roberto Campa, the administration had been working on a violence-prevention program which included school bullying since last year, shortly after Peña Nieto took office.
"I think it was given less importance for many years. It was considered normal," said Campa. "Clearly, it's not normal, and things have changed and the issue is becoming more visible and central in public discussions."
The government, however, is not the only group that has turned its attention to bullying in recent months. Since Mini's death, many anti-bullying movements have begun to pick up steam, including one called Basta Mx, which started #ElBullyingNOEsUnJuego.
Many Mexican celebrities have taken part in the movement, including singers Thalia and Lucero, as well as actors such as Adamari Lopez, Daniel Arena, Jorge Poza and Kuno Becker.
Additionally, many athletes have taken part such as soccer star Miguel "El Piojo" Herrera, and boxers Saul "El Canelo" Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez.
"This is something that got away from them and they had no strategy for coordinating different government offices to do something about this," said Ibero-American University professor and human rights program coordinator Mario Cruz. "This campaign is not a corrective step but at least it makes the phenomenon more visible."
More about Bullying, Mexico, enrique pena nieto, elbullyingnoesunjuego, thalia
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