This week Wednesday February 27th is Pink Shirt Day. On this day numerous organizations and institutions aim to raise awareness about bullying, and suggest ways to counter the dangerous and cruel activity.
Pink Shirt Day originated when two Senior High School students in Nova Scotia stood up to a bully whilst supporting one of their peers. The victim was a junior at the time and wore a pink polo shirt to school on his first day- he was relentlessly bullied. When the two senior students heard of the bullying they decided “enough was enough” and decided to take a stand. David Shepherd and Travis Price headed to their local discount store and bought 50 pink shirts. From there, the two seniors organized a “sea of pink” that would take place the next day. Students wore the pink shirts the two seniors had bought, and many others followed suit by wearing their own pink clothing – some from head to toe – on the next day of school. When the bullied student entered school it was an extremely powerful moment.
“It definitely looked like there was a big weight lifted off his shoulders. He went from looking right depressed to being as happy as can be,” said Shepherd. “It’s amazing what a little activism can do, and reiterates why it is important to spread awareness surrounding these issues whenever possible.”
At least one in three adolescent students in Canada has reported being bullied. “Raising awareness around bullying-prevention is very helpful. It provides potential conversations with people and in places where those conversations are not yet happening, or not happening enough” says Joel Roos, Full-Time Counsellor at the Centre. In this day and age bullying can take many forms through the mediums utilized by new media. This does not necessarily mean it is more prevalent than it has been in the past; it is simply easier to track.
In order to prevent and counter bullying one must be aware of its presence and act accordingly. Joel outlines four key steps for bullying prevention:
1) Make sure that anyone in a given community (classroom community, friendship group, or participants of an online community) knows what the acceptable social interactions are.
2) Make sure that all people in said community understand their responsibility to uphold those rules. This rule is key, because parents have a part in these communities.
3) All community participants should monitor and check out if rules and standards are being upheld. When they are being upheld, they should reward themselves and others for doing a good job.
4) When there is an issue, there should be a clear set of pre-determined steps where people can report it, and intervention can be made.
For more information or to get involved in Pink Shirt Day please visit: http://www.pinkshirtday.ca/get-involved/top-seven-ways-to-support-cknws-pink-shirt-day/
Wear a pink shirt to work, school or at home this Wednesday, February 27 to show your support.