Keep­ing kids safe from bullying

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

This editorial ran in the Hal­i­fax Chron­i­cle Her­ald:

Com­mu­nity ef­forts needed to help kids feel safe from bullying

Ev­ery­one can use a hero. Thank­fully, Sydney’s Xan­der Rose got more than 100 of them.

Ten-year-old Xan­der was the tar­get of bul­lies at Har­bour­side El­e­men­tary School where he was a Grade 4 stu­dent. The bul­lies at­tacked him over his race and size.

Xan­der’s he­roes came on two wheels and wore leather vests in­stead of capes.

Cape Bre­ton biker Mike Basso stepped in to or­ga­nize a rally in sup­port of Xan­der af­ter the boy’s mother, des­per­ate for help, reached out to a non-profit U.S.-based ad­vo­cacy group called De­fend­ers of Chil­dren. The group aims to en­sure safety in all ar­eas of chil­dren’s lives, fam­ily sit­u­a­tions, school play­grounds, in­ter­net chat rooms, etc.

About 150 bik­ers showed up to sup­port Xan­der, in­clud­ing many from the lo­cal Bay Boys Mo­tor­cy­cle Club.

The theme of sup­port is be­ing picked up by some Cape Bre­ton fire­fight­ers. North Sydney fire chief Lloyd MacIn­tosh re­cently told CBC that young peo­ple try­ing to flee a cri­sis could seek refuge at their lo­cal fire sta­tion.

“If they come to our door and say, ‘Some­body’s chas­ing me, some­body’s bullying me, I had to get out of my house,’ then you can come here, and we can call the ap­pro­pri­ate agency,” said MacIn­tosh.

He said the fire de­part­ment makes sense be­cause it’s staffed 24 hours a day.

Shae­lene Lafosse, who or­ga­nized a com­mu­nity meet­ing about bullying, is­sued a plea for peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions in the com­mu­nity to help young peo­ple feel safe.

Thanks to a car­ing group of bik­ers, Xan­der, thank­fully, now knows he is not alone.

Ku­dos to them for step­ping up and onto their bikes to sup­port a shaken 10-year-old.

Any­one be­ing bul­lied needs a safe haven and needs to know they are not alone.

We can all step up as he­roes for those who are be­ing bul­lied. No capes or tights re­quired.

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