Hundreds of bikers in Sydney, N.S. are bolstering a bullied 10-year-old boy by taking him under their wing and showing him that he has more “brothers” than he realized.
Harbourside Elementary Grade 4 student Xander Rose can’t wait for the school year to be over because, he says, all of his schoolmates except his younger brother and one friend pick on him.
“People make bad comments about my weight, my look, my clothes,” Rose told CTV Atlantic. “It’s not a good year.”
Rose says he’s been bullied for years, but his mother, Katie Laybolt, said the racial slurs and sexual comments have made this year the worst yet.
“It’s been crazy. He’s gotten jumped on the bus, clothing ripped off his back. He’s been told to go die in a hole,” Laybolt said.
She’s been in contact with the school, the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, the First Nations school board rep, the Children’s Aid Society of Cape Breton-Victoria, her area’s MLA and other students’ parents, but despite her efforts, Laybolt says the bullying hasn’t stopped.
Going out on a limb, Laybolt even reached out to a non-profit U.S. children’s advocacy group called Defenders of Children. The group responded to her message for help and the Fredericton, N.B. chapter put out an open call for local bikers to do a ride to support Rose, who is an avid fan of motorcycles.
Organizers from different bike clubs, including Mike Basso from the Cape Breton Bike Rally, became involved and actively promoted it on Facebook and in the biking community.
The call to action was a success and on Wednesday, hundreds of bikers are expected to pick up Rose at his home and take him to school.
During a practice run with about 30 motorcyclists on Monday, Basso said the 10-year-old boy will always be able to look to the biking community for help when he’s in trouble now.
“I’m hoping he knows, from now on, if somebody bullies him, he’s got somebody to go to,” Basso said. “He can look on the corner on any street. He’s going to find a leather vest. He’s now one of our brothers.”
The kind bikers plan to dismount their motorcycles once they arrive at the school on Wednesday and form two lines on either side of Rose to personally walk him to the front door, Basso explained.
The powerful gesture is meant to demonstrate to the other students that bullying is not okay and that Rose has more friends than perhaps, he even realized.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore