Ten-year-old Xander Rose didn’t have to worry about being bullied on his way to school Wednesday morning. That’s because he was accompanied by 150 leather-clad bikers.
As indicated in news reports, the fourth-grade student at Harbourside Elementary in Sydney, N.S. had been regularly bullied because of his race and size. In an effort to stop the bullying, Xander’s mother had contacted the school, the local school board and other parents, but the bullying continued.
Finally, in desperation, she reached out to an American children’s advocacy group called Defenders Of The Children. That led to Mike Basso, organizer of the Cape Breton Bike Rally, to mobilizing local bikers in support of the young bullying victim. On Wednesday, the army of bikers drove Xander to school and walked him to the front door.
It shouldn’t require such efforts for children to feel safe from bullies at school. While a spokeswoman for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board said in a story by The Canadian Press that the school administration takes reports of bullying seriously, clearly the system was failing Xander Rose. And he’s far from the only one.
Basso told the Canadian Press, “We lost three children in the past month. On the weekend we lost a 13-year-old girl who was the victim of cyberbullying. Maybe she had the cure for cancer in her head. Maybe she could have been the next prime minister.”
The issue of bullying has been in the news for years. Its profile is raised anew every time a child who is a victim of bullying dies. But the problem continues.
Bullying is a more complex issue than it might first appear. While the initial solution is to step in and protect the victim, young people who are prone to bully others might simply find other victims or other ways to bully.
The website nobullying.com points out that most bullies have their own underlying issues that need to be dealt with. The website says, “Although bullies may seem confident and sure of themselves, they are usually insecure and may feel inferior to others. They treat their peers like dirt as a way to make themselves feel better.”
The site goes on to explain that bullies often come from dysfunctional homes. They might have difficulty controlling their emotions or have learned that bullying behaviour brings rewards. Sometimes they lack empathy for others, or have a need to be in control.
Getting to the root of these issues might be the key to stopping bullies from lashing out at others but that can take time. The first order of business should be to protect those who are being bullied, and that’s where school jurisdictions need to do a better job. If bullying is taking place at school or on school buses, school officials need to demonstrate that they do indeed take bullying seriously by actually taking action to stop it.
Parents shouldn’t have to call upon bikers to do the job.