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

Just Posted

PODCAST: Political Scientist Marc Froese discusses the results of the Federal Election

Western alienation, results, minority governments and more highlight this week’s The Expert podcast

Blaine Calkins takes the seat for Red-Deer Lacombe

With 50 per cent of the riding counted, Calkins has over 21,000 votes

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

Red Deer-Lacombe candidate “thrilled” voters loved People’s Party of Canada platform

Laura-Lynn Thompson attended a results party at Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club on Oct. 21

WATCH: 6th Bill’s Trail Run welcomes over 450 runners

Run advocates for the use and upkeep of Lacombe’s trails

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Husky Energy lays off staff to align with lower spending plans and strategy

Company had 5,157 permanent employees at end of 2018, according to regulatory filing

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Opposition to Trans Mountain won’t change, B.C. minister says

Pipeline projects proceed under minority Trudeau government

Alleged RCMP secret leaker must stay with B.C. parents while on bail

Cameron Ortis, 47, is charged with violating the Security of Information Act

‘Inconsistent’ message on climate change hurt Liberals at the polls: prof

Trudeau government will have to make concessions to hold onto power

VIDEO: Final trailer for ‘Rise of Skywalker’ debuts

Last instalment in Skywalker saga to hit theatres Dec. 20

Most Read