A SCHOOL has launched an inquiry after the family of a Bury schoolgirl found drowned in the River Irwell claimed she was being bullied.

More than 25,000 people have signed a petition calling for an investigation into the death of Shukri Yahya Abdi, whose body was found in a stretch of the River Irwell, off Dunsters Road in Bury, last week.

A peaceful protest is due to be held outside Broad Oak Sports College, where the 12-year-old was a pupil, later today.

Her family say they do not believe Shukri's death was an accident and that she was being bullied at school.

However, Greater Manchester Police are continuing to treat the incident as a “tragic accident” and say they do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.

An inquest into the death of the schoolgirl, who moved to the UK with her family from Somali in 2017, is due to open on Tuesday.

Bury Times:

The school, in Hazel Avenue, yesterday announced that a review would be carried out into its anti-bullying policy and procedures.

Leaders promised to share the outcome of the internal inquiry with the family.

The statement read: "The school and Oak Learning Partnership Multi Academy Trust were deeply saddened to receive news of Shukri’s tragic death.

"Shukri was a lovely young girl, always smiling, always wanting to please people and worked hard. She had a beautiful personality and a loving and supportive family.

"Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are now with the family at this time and we will be supporting them and all our children through this difficult period. We ask for your understanding at this difficult time for our school and our community.

"Since the tragedy the school has sought to support those affected by the sudden and unexpected loss of Shukri. On Friday the school held a special assembly for all the students when we informed them of Shukri’s passing. We followed this by an extended form time where students wrote cards and messages for Shukri’s family.

Bury Times:

"The school's headteacher and members of his team have visited the family home and further visits are planned working alongside the community support worker supporting Shukri’s family.

"Mr Greenhalgh also wrote to all families on Friday and has written a further letter to all our families yesterday.

"We are currently working with Shukri’s family in respect of any concerns which have been raised about the school. As the school was taken into the Oak Learning Partnership Multi Academy Trust in April of this year, the trust leadership under CEO, Elaine Parkinson, will be reviewing all policies and procedures at the school, in particular we will focus on the schools anti-bullying policy and procedures and other policies relating to the welfare of children. The Trust will ensure they engage with its community and co-produce policies and procedures that are well understood by all.

"In addition we have been working in partnership with Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire Service, Healthy Young Minds (NHS), The Educational Psychology Team, Bury Social Care and Bury Local Authority to ensure all our young people are supported at this time. We have a daily support programme in place to work with those young people directly or indirectly affected by this tragedy.

"We have also met with Bury councillors who represent East Ward in order to discuss how we support the community."

On Thursday, June 27, Shukri left school at Broad Oak Sports College with several other children, from where she usually made the brief walk to her home.

Just a short time earlier, her mother, Zamzam Ture, had gone to pick up her younger children from primary school, as was their routine, to ensure she reached home for about about 3.30pm ­— where Shukri was usually waiting.

Bury Times:

Once back at home, Ms Ture helped her younger children get changed and eat to prepare to go to the mosque.

As time passed, she became increasingly concerned about Shukri and went to look for her.

She went to the school, where a member of staff told her she had seen Shukri “around 25 minutes ago”, at the end of the school day, with some other children.

With panic building, Ms Ture launched a desperate search.

Ms Ture then returned home and called her close family friend, Abdirahman Muse, who contacted the police.

When officers arrived they took a statement from Ms Ture, who told them Shukri’s disappearance was totally out of character.

However, while she was speaking with the police, she heard a call come in to the officers reporting that a girl had drowned in the River Irwell.

The officers then asked Ms Ture for a photograph of Shukri to help identify to the girl.

Over a mile away, in a stretch of the river off Dunster Road, police and fire service search crews and divers combed the water ­— which in parts plunges to depths of 20ft ­— for almost three hours, before making a tragic discovery.

Bury Times:

At her home, after hours of agonising waiting, Ms Ture was given the heart-rending news that Shukri’s body had been found and taken to the hospital, and she was asked to come to go and identify her daughter.

The girl is thought to have been two other children, also aged 12, when the incident occurred.

Shukri's family say they believed that Shukri could not swim and had got into difficulty in the water.

Speaking to the Bury Times earlier this week, Shukri's mother said the tragedy had left them no longer feeling safe in the town and country which gave them refuge.

She added: “I feel scared. I left my country to get away and get to a safe place where I can raise my children and have a better life.

“But I think the place we have found is worse.

“Where we come from horrible things happen all the time, so you expect it at any time. But here I was expecting to be safe and this has happened.

“I no longer feel safe in my house, in this area, I don’t even feel safe for my children to make friends.”