Bullied Cape Breton boy gets school escort of a lifetime
Published Wednesday, June 21, 2017 2:48PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, June 22, 2017 7:32AM ADT
Hundreds of bikers from across the Maritimes gathered in Sydney Wednesday morning to escort a bullied 10-year-old boy to school.
Wearing a leather vest himself, Xander Rose strolled towards his school’s front doors with an entourage of bikers set on delivering a message: bullying is not okay.
“His family has grown, I wouldn't even say tenfold,” says biker Mike Basso. “My brothers in B.C. are talking about it out there. The message is getting out finally.”
It's a message that's been a hot topic in the community, with three young people taking their own lives in just six months.
Xander's mother Katie Laybolt says reaching out to the biker group saved her son.
“I didn't want my child's name to become another one on that list,” says Laybolt. “That's where it felt like it was going. We were watching him withdrawal, he didn't want to come to school, he didn't want to come out of his bedroom most days.”
Xander, who is full status aboriginal, has been the target of racial slurs. He says he has been told to kill himself, and other violent threats.
“Rough and hard. I've been picked on all year,” says Xander.
But with his new brothers and sisters by his side, Xander's hoping he can now help others that are being bullied.
“It's good. I think from me getting all this help and support, I can now spread it to help others,” he says.
While some believe there is a crisis when it comes to bullying in Cape Breton schools, Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board chair Darren Googoo disagrees, claiming supports and resources are in place.
“I think that we're going to really need to carefully monitor how we provide services to all students. I think that's going to be a challenge moving forward,” says Googoo.
“We're not going to see any real change if you can't admit there's an issue. You can't fix it,” says Laybolt.
The biking community in Cape Breton says this is just the beginning, and want bullied children like Xander to know they're not alone.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.