Bikers against bullying

By Laura TomassiniPit Reding Switch to German for original article

Urban Bulldogs Against Kids Abuse, or Ubaka for short, is the name of a globally active biker association that campaigns against the bullying and abuse of children. Three years ago, a so-called chapter of Ubaka also found its home in Luxembourg and intervenes where bureaucracy fails.

Every morning, Timo (name changed by the editors) thought about going to school with pain in his stomach and head. For months, two of his classmates waited for him there, but not to play football together in the playground, but to bully him with words and pushes. Bullying at school is not uncommon in Luxembourg, as repeated hostility, be it verbal or physical, is one of the top four reasons why students report to their campus' psychological service.

Only last 7 June, a video circulated on social media showing a group of youths humiliating a young girl in front of mobile phone cameras. Teasing, spitting on, kicking, WhatsApp messages – all this is what victims of bullying have to endure, usually without the assaults being noticed by adults. "In Luxembourg, something really has to happen before action is taken, " Timo's mother complains. For months she reported the bullying attacks on her son to his teachers and school – without success. "Nothing was done, even though I was able to regularly produce doctor's certificates.

A different approach to conflict resolution

At school, the sixth-grader was pushed down the stairs several times, after L.A.S.E.P. (Ligue des Associations Sportives de l'Enseignement Primaire) sports lessons he regularly came home with bruises, contusions or a bleeding lip. "We had even registered with a bullying association, but they required us to keep a bullying diary for a long period of time. It all takes far too long. By the time all the paperwork is through, it can already be too late, " Timo's mother thinks.

After her attempts via the conventional route failed, she chose a different way and brought in the bikers of Ubaka. For a week, the members of Urban Bulldogs Against Kids Abuse accompanied the boy to school, leaving a lasting impression on both his classmates and the school administration. "Once we were there, things started to move, " says René, one of the Ubaka bikers. While the appearance of the bikers in their leather jackets initially provoked aversion among the teaching staff, the bikers were eventually able to establish a dialogue between the parties involved and thus calm the conflict for the time being.

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