Haldane Elementary School. (File Photo)

Bikers plan to give bullied Shuswap girl a lift

Two groups of motorcyclists from Alberta plan to visit Haldane Elementary on May 10.

A girl who has been bullied at a Shuswap elementary school is in need of a lift; two groups of bikers who have made it their mission to raise awareness of the harm caused by bullying plan to give it to her.

Nine-year-old Samiya Noor has been regularly tormented by other students at Chase’s Haldane Elementary, according to the girl’s grandmother Vicki Gustavson.

Gustavson said Noor has been the target of racial slurs, and an array of physical violence.

The torment began towards the end of Noor’s third grade year and got so bad Gustavson, who is Noor’s guardian, made the decision to homeschool the girl for approximately five months.

Upon Noor’s return to school the bullying continued. Gustavson said in a recent incident, Noor was knocked to the ground and had grass shoved into her mouth.

Read More: Students united in stance against bullying

Read More: Shuswap man takes Pink Shirt Day step further with pink beard

Gustavson said Noor even shaved off her eyebrows after being teased about them and hid a knife in her room with the intention of using it on herself.

“She just kind of withdrew from life and the world and she’s only nine years old,” Gustavson said of the way her granddaughter’s behaviour has changed since the bullying began.

In solidarity with what Noor is experiencing, two groups of anti-bullying motorcycle enthusiasts are planning a visit to Chase on Friday, May 10.

Steve Enns, the founder of Bullying Enns, one of the two groups of Albertan motorcycle enthusiasts who will be making the trip, is hopeful a visit from the bikers will improve Noor’s situation or at least lift her spirits.

Since founding the group in 2017, Enns has organized more than 40 rides in the Edmonton area where a group of bikers picks up or drops off bullying victims at school.

“In the past it’s kicked off a conversation and got kids talking to the bullied kids who might’ve never talked to them,” Enns said.

James Manley, a representative of Bikers are Buddies, a Calgary-based group which does anti-bullying work, said Noor’s story hits especially close to home for the Calgary riders. He said a nine-year-old girl in Calgary recently took her own life after being targeted by bullies.

Enns said the biggest thing he wants to impress on people ahead of the visit from the bikers is that this isn’t about intimidating bullies, but rather about starting a conversation and setting an example of sticking up for victims.

Read More: Opinion: Bullying rampant in Canadian society

Read More: EDITORIAL: Fight bullying every day

Manley said he is impressed by the way word of the Alberta bikers’ ride to B.C. has spread in the local community, kicking off a dialogue about the effects bullying can have and the way it is being handled in schools. He also said businesses along the bikers’ route have been supportive of the cause with Riders Retreat in Nakusp and Joe Schmucks Road House in Sicamous providing discounted accommodation.

Although she is pleased with the way community members have rallied around her granddaughter, Gustavson does not feel the school has done enough to protect the girl.

Rob Schoen, School District #73’s assistant superintendent in charge of elementary schools, said the district has clear policies against bullying and they have been followed at Haldane.

“We do have policies that relate to code of conduct bullying and cyber bullying. We take that very seriously; as soon as complaints of bullying are brought to the attention of the school or district we investigate them,” Schoen said.

The motorcyclists have been asked to stay off school property when they come to pick up Noor. Schoen said it is important they know that the school and district are not against their message, they are simply trying to avoid a distraction from the learning environment.

“We want to thank the motorcycle enthusiasts for the positive messaging. I think the more positive messaging we have out there in terms of anti bullying and supporting kindness is a beautiful thing,” he said.

Gustavson said she is immensely grateful for what the bikers are doing and plans to throw a backyard barbecue for them and any other members of the community interested in attending. Those interested in more information or contributing food can contact her at 250-879-0776.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

Up to 25 cm of snow is expected to fall in the region by Thursday

Revelstoke schools graffitied

Revelstoke Secondary School and Begbie View Elementary were defaced last weekend

Parks Canada on the way to completing $122 million in infrastructure projects

Upgrades in Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Park have been in progress for five years

Highway 1 closed east of Golden

Due to rocks on highway

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Community Foundation provides funding to Summerland organizations

More than $18,000 in grant funding given to Recope, the arts council and the food bank

B.C. cities top the list for most generous in Canada on GoFundMe

Chilliwack took the number-two spot while Kamloops was at the top of the list

Two in custody after allegedly assaulting a group of nine youths

The suspects were apprehended by police near Highway 33 and McCulloch Road

South Okanagan Cycling Without Age chapter tops in North America

The Penticton chapter of Cycling with Age provides more rides than others in North America.

Kelowna man who assaulted and threatened two women sentenced

Russell McDermid was sentenced to 22 months in prison followed by three years of probation

Summerland utility rates to increase

Water rates to rise by five per cent, sewer by 3.5 per cent and electrical by 4.4 per cent

Most Read