Bikers against Bullies South Africa (BABSA) organised an anti-bullying initiative on Tuesday morning at Laerskool Roodekrans, after receiving word that a child was being bullied at the school.
BABSA picked up the learner, who was allegedly bullied in the past, from his house and escorted him to school. The event took place before school commenced and the boy’s fellow pupils waited for him and the group of more than a hundred bikers as they arrived. The bikers, according to some residents, also had posters with anti-bullying slogans on them, reports Roodepoort Record. The bullied victim in question was unaware and pleasantly surprised at the grand gesture.
Although some condemned the act as an intimidation tactic, most responses were overwhelmingly positive.
The residents and parents that were not pleased with the event felt the problem of bullying should not be addressed in this manner, with some even stating that the bikers were now the bullies.
Others claimed the bikers had no right to be there and that they intimidated the children.
However, most lauded the gesture saying they take their hats off to the bikers for addressing the problem. The post and its thread were later removed by the administrators of the Facebook page in question.
Reinier Ferreira of BABSA told the Roodepoort Record they had arranged with the school beforehand and did not just “pitch up and take over” as some implied on social media. He also said the school governing body representative who accompanied them was very pleased. It was clear that the children enjoyed the visit and at no time did he sense any child feeling intimidated.
The bikers explained in a Facebook video that they did this to address the seriousness of bullying, to make victims feel empowered, and to address the bullies as well.
The initiative forms part of the international Big Brother/Sister Biker programme. This involves BAB riding out in their masses to help protect children from bullies at school, and to raise awareness in communities and schools. David Kolm of BAB explained that the programme does not do bully bashing, but rather supports both the victim and the bully to assist in guiding him or her through their ordeals. Victims are also assigned a ‘big brother/sister’ to assist in this guidance. This is done by equipping the victim with tips on how to deal with bullies.
Kolm added that this programme also extends to the bullies themselves. BAB has teamed up with Manners4Minors, an organisation dedicated to teaching children how to be well-mannered, in the hopes of eradicating bullying.
All parents have to do is contact BAB, and they will organise the ride-along event. Parents of bullies are also welcome to contact BAB.
The Roodepoort Record is still in the process of obtaining comment from Laerskool Roodekrans.