Amal Alshteiwi, a newcomer to Canada from Syria, took her own life several weeks ago. (THE NEWS/files)

Calgary’s public school board responds to Syrian child’s suicide after bullying

Amal Alshteiwi, a newcomer to Canada from Syria, took her own life several weeks ago

Calgary’s public school board says it’s taking the suicide of a nine-year-old student seriously after the girl’s parents raised concerns about bullying.

Amal Alshteiwi, a newcomer to Canada from Syria, took her own life several weeks ago.

READ MORE: Canadian research finds steep increase in suicide attempts by children

Her parents told CTV Calgary that Amal’s teacher had been informed of bullying by her classmates.

They say the school did nothing to address the issue.

Christopher Usih, who is the chief superintendent of the Calgary Board of Education, says his staff is working closely with the school principal to gather information from students and teachers to try to understand what happened.

The family had fled violence in Syria and arrived in Canada nearly three years ago, hoping for a better life.

They say their daughter was happy in her first years at school, but noted the bullying from other students began in Grade 4 when she began to struggle with math.

“When I noticed that my kid was having problems at the school and slipping away … I went to the school myself,” her mother, Nasra Abdulrahmin, said through a translator.

Amal’s father, Aref Alshteiwi, recounted the heartless taunts of her classmates.

“They were saying, ‘you’re stupid, you’re ugly, nobody loves you,’” said Alshteiwi. “Even if you move to another school, they still think there’s nobody that’s going to love you there.”

She had switched schools in the weeks before her death, but her dad said the damage had already been done and he found her body in her room in March.

“I want to know what happened to my daughter and why this happened,” said Alshteiwi.

The Calgary Police Service has investigated the young girl’s death, but they concluded there was no evidence of foul play.

A review is ongoing by the Calgary Board of Education.

“We take this matter very seriously,” the school board said in a statement. “We strive to ensure that our schools are safe and inclusive environments that support and respond to the needs of our students and staff.

“If students and parents have concerns about bullying, they are encouraged to speak with their teacher and school principal.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Albertans get an extra free order of COVID-19 masks

Packages will be available July 13 at fast food restaurants

COVID-19 scare sees Latvia-bound troops turn around, return to Canada

Those on board face another 14 days in isolation

2 dead, 8 hurt in South Carolina nightclub shooting

Police are searching for two suspects

Ponoka RCMP lay charges following home invasion

33-year-old man who arrived on bicycle is in custody

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta Part 2

More insight into the Black Lives Matter movement of central Alberta

PODCAST: The Expert tackles the return of sports

Cam Moon, Joe Whitbread, Byron Hackett and Todd Vaughan discuss how sports can come back

‘You have to show up:’ NDP MP questions virtual attendance of Alberta Tories

NDP MP McPherson says she’s disappointed Tory MPs haven’t been participating in virtual meetings

Flood warning, mandatory evacuation for people in remote Alberta hamlet

A flood warning has been issued for the rain-swollen Smoky River near the Hamlet of Watino

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, Amnesty, sex worker advocates say

‘We need to make sure the existing laws on the books aren’t enforced’

Protesters return to St. Louis area where couple drew guns

Protesters return to St. Louis area where couple drew guns

Heavy rain floods southern Japan, leaving over dozen missing

Heavy rain floods southern Japan, leaving over dozen missing

At Rushmore, Trump says protesters seek to ‘defame’ heroes

At Rushmore, Trump says protesters seek to ‘defame’ heroes

Most Read