Bikers Escort Bullied Boy To School

June 22, 2017
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A 10-year-old boy recently made quite an entrance at Harbourside Elementary School in Sydney, N.S. on Wednesday morning.

Xander Rose wore a leather vest and strolled towards his school’s front doors with an entourage of bikers set on delivering a message: bullying is not okay.

Dozens of bikers heeded a call to action by U.S. children’s advocacy group Defenders of Children to assist the struggling Grade 4 student who has been bullied by classmates for years.

Xander’s mother said that her son, who is indigenous, has been the target of racial slurs, insults about his looks and even death threats by other students.

Katie Laybolt said that she reached out to the advocacy organization after a number of complaints to school and community authorities didn’t stop the bullying.

The mother was extremely concerned for her child’s safety especially after hearing about the number or teen suicides in the area alone.

“I didn’t want my child’s name to become another one on that list. And that’s where it felt it was going,” Laybolt told CTV Atlantic. “We were seeing him withdraw. He didn’t want to come to school, he didn’t want to come out of his bedroom most days.”

Various bike club members including the Cape Breton Bike Rally and Bay Boys Motorcycle Club, congregated in a grocery store parking lot in Sydney, N.S. early on Wednesday morning before riding to Xander’s home to pick him up.

Xander rode on the back of one of the motorcycles – waving to onlookers who lined the streets of Whitney Pier. The large progression filled up an entire lane which made their way to Harbourside Elementary School.

The bikers then walked the 10-year-old boy from the parking lot to the school’s front doors while watchers applauded.

Xander appeared completely relaxed and content as he strode through the parking lot accompanied by his new friends.

The boy said the past school year was “rough,” but he hopes his message of resilience will have a ripple effect.

It’s good, because I think from me getting all this help and support, I can also spread it to help others,” he said.

There have been a number of concerns about an upswing in bullying in Cape Breton schools. A spokesperson for the Cape Breton – Victoria Regional School Board disagreed and said that necessary supports for students are in place.

I think that we’re going to need to really carefully monitor how we provide services to all students. I think that that’s going to be a challenge moving forward,” said school board chair Darren Googoo.

However, Xander’s mother accused the school of not doing enough to help kids like her son.

We’re not going to see any real change. If you can’t admit there’s a real issue, you can’t fix it,” she said.

A biker involved in organizing the ride, Mike Basso, said that Xander will be able to look to his biker brothers and sisters for help whenever he needs it.

His family has grown, I wouldn’t even say tenfold, I’d say thousand-fold,” Basso said. “My brothers in B.C. are talking about it out there. The message is getting out finally.”


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