Local schools are fighting to give victims a voice by raising awareness about bullying with a national initiative known as Pink Shirt Day.
Students are encouraged to join forces with their peers, teachers, families and the community to mark the fifth annual awareness event on Wednesday, February 24th day by wearing pink.
“Pink Shirt Day is something we all do together,” said Jill Jensen, JA Laird principal. “Students know what it is about and teachers lead discussions in class.”
The national movement for Pink Shirt Day, which is endorsed by the Red Cross, stems from a 2007 incident in the Maritimes where two students stood up to bullying. Afterwards, the students asked their peers for support by wearing pink after a male student had been bullied for wearing the colour.
“On Pink Shirt Day, we celebrate diversity and inclusion, caring and kindness,” said Ms. Jensen. “We remind ourselves of the spirit in which the day began with students standing up and speaking out against the mistreatment of their peers. Because we share our space and our world (our schools and our community) with each other, we have a responsibility to treat each other with care and respect.”
The anti-bullying initiative is geared towards helping victims take back power from their abusers and has signified an important statement across the nation.
“The act of wearing pink to support the anti-bullying initiative draws its power from the adage of there being strength in numbers,” said Mark Koebel, Eileen Madson Primary School principal. “The bully is forced to see the visual effect that reflects the attitude of the silent majority, and the sooner we instill the quality of social responsibility and the importance of ‘just being nice,’ the sooner we won’t need a Pink Shirt Day.”
To learn more, visit www.pinkshirtday.ca.