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

‘The Best of Stettler’ Readers’ Choice Awards 2019 has launched!

Vote for your favourite local businesses, eateries, services and more until Sept. 21st

UPDATE: Sylvan Lake RCMP respond to drowning

Emergency crews recovered the body of a 19-year-old man from Sylvan Lake in the early evening of Aug. 22nd

Lacombe’s Morrison House Cafe to close Aug. 30

Morrison House recently celebrated 100 years in Lacombe

Five km run and walk raises funds for Stettler Hospice Society

Stettler District Ambulance Association encourages community to be active

Ol’ MacDonald’s Resort has a packed line-up of musical performances

Weekend country music festival set for Sept. 6th-8th

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Body of 19-year-old drowning victim recovered from Sylvan Lake

RCMP say the body was recovered the evening of Aug. 22.

Black bear ruins Alberta barber’s day

It’s not always a good idea to leave the door open

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Red Deer Rebels Training Camp begins Aug. 24

Rebels home opener will be on Sept. 21 against the Edmonton Oil Kings

Most Read