Joshua Trump, 11, was bullied so severely after Donald Trump first announced his plans to run for the White House in June 2015 that his mother is thinking of changing his last name to that of his stepfather.
The years-long bullying prompted Teach Anti Bullying, a national nonprofit based in Pennsylvania, to award Joshua their Anti-Bullying Medal of Courage.
A ceremony was held at his home in Delaware. Pictures show the founder of the nonprofit holding a plaque and presenting it to Trump.
Teach Anti Bullying said they wanted to reward his strength in the face of the torment.
“His story, while tragic over its content, provides greater awareness to many, as he now becomes a role model over the fact that you are who you are,” Claudio Cerullo, founder of Teach Anti Bullying, said in a statement.
“And no one should have to change over the ridicule of your name.”
Cerullo urged Joshua’s parents not to change his name because of the bullying and said that he learned many students who bullied the middle schooler have apologized for their actions.
Joshua’s mother said the bullying continued for years.
“They curse at him, they call him an idiot, they call him stupid,” she told WPVI. “He said he hates himself, and he hates his last name, and he feels sad all the time, and he doesn’t want to live feeling like that anymore, and as a parent that’s scary.”
The family pulled Joshua out of school for a year and homeschooled him, hoping that a fresh start in middle school the year after would be the end of the bullying. But that proved not to be the case.
Due to the intense bullying, officials in the school district agreed to let Trump use his father’s last name, Berto.
School principal Mark Mayer said some teachers stopped using his surname due to the bullying. “I do know the teachers were aware of the last name,” Mayer said, “and I know in speaking with the student that the teachers do their very best to try not to say his last name.”
Megan Trump said she was thinking of officially changing her son’s surname to Berto.
Five students were disciplined for bullying Trump. “They were apologetic and they did say that they were sorry,” Mayer said.
His mother took to social media to appeal to parents to talk to their children and discourage them from hurtful behavior.
“In an age where our children are depressed and suicidal don’t let your kid be a bully,” she said. “I don’t care who you like or dislike in this world but stop spreading the hatred to your children because this is ridiculous.”
From NTD News