Amal Alshteiwi’s body was found by her mother on March 6 in their home in Calgary, Middle East Monitor reported.
In the weeks leading up to her death she had consistently complained of being physically and verbally abused by fellow classmates. The bullying continued despite changing schools, leaving Amal distraught
“Two weeks before she moved from that school to another school, kids came to her and said, ‘Even if you move to another school they are not going to love you. The kids or the teacher. Wherever you go, you better just go and kill yourself,’” Amal’s mother Nasra Abdulrahman said, talking through a translator.
“They were bullying her all the time there, telling her, ‘You are ugly, you are not beautiful,’” her father added.
The family came to Canada three years ago fleeing the foreign-backed war in Syria.
Although Amal’s parents said they raised their concerns with the school management multiple times, teachers reportedly failed to protect the nine-year-old from the abuse or offer her any additional support.
In a statement emailed to Global News, the Calgary Board of Education said it “found there was no indication of bullying nor was any concern raised to the school,” following an investigation.
“The area office has worked closely with the school principal to gather information from teachers, staff and students to try to understand if there were concerns or issues,” the board said.
Whilst Canada has several organizations offering services to help refugees adjust to their new life, according to a 2017 survey, only half of those eligible to access them know they exist. The Alshteiwis did not reach out to any organization for help settling in, and local immigration services are trying to establish why they were not alerted to Amal’s plight through the school.
The news of Amal’s death marks the latest incident of abuse against refugee children in countries to which they have fled the brutal eight-year war in Syria. Terrorist groups were largely defeated in Iraq and Syria in late 2017.
In February, two Syrian teenagers were walking in the German capital Berlin when they were confronted with a man spouting racist insults. He proceeded to attack the girls, punching them several times before fleeing into a nearby shopping mall. The girls sustained injuries and were transferred to hospital for treatment.