Provincial Point of View
February 28, 2018
PINK SHIRT DAY PROMOTES STANDING UP TO BULLYING
Celebrated annually around the globe, Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two students, David Shepherd and Travis Price, took a stand against homophobic bullying after a new year 10 student was harassed and threatened for wearing pink. Since then, over 233,000 people in Saskatchewan have participated in Red Cross Pink Day celebrations. We encourage you to join us this year and help change the culture around bullying in our province! Click here to read about Red Cross Pink Day.
Pink shirt day still resonates with Saskatchewan students. The following is a great article taken from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. Credit to Morgan Modjeski:
Ten years after the movement started at a Nova Scotia High School, the Pink Shirt Day anti-bullying campaign still matters to Saskatchewan students, say the people helping lead the charge in the province. Pink Shirt Day began in 2007 when students at a Nova Scotia High School wore pink shirts to show support for another student who had been bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.
The campaign has evolved into a national event, with thousands of students across the country wearing pink shirts to show support for anti-bullying efforts. Events are held across the country on Feb. 28.
After speaking to a group of students at E.D. Feehan Catholic High School, Scott McHenry, a former Saskatchewan Roughrider and bullying expert with the Red Cross, said he feels the focus of the campaign has shifted.
“Pink Day has gone through a bit of transition in the 10 years,” he said. “Early on, it was about education and talking about it … I think we’re kind of past that now. We have to understand what role do we play.
“We know what bullying is. We know what verbal and cyberbullying looks like; it’s more about a call to action,” he said. “It’s about what we can do, as youth especially, to make a difference.”
McHenry, who displayed bullying behaviour while growing up, said each individual has the power to make a change, telling the crowd: “It’s not about doing something crazy, it’s about doing something kind.”
He said he changed his behaviour after his classmates helped him realize the consequences of his actions. He told students intervention in bullying can take many forms, including asking for help from an adult or standing up for a victim.
McHenry is part of a group of players associated with the Roughriders who are touring Saskatchewan to talk about Pink Shirt Day. This week, the Red Cross will hold Imagine No Bullying presentations at 30 schools. Overall, more than 100 schools participate across the province.
Kelsi Prince, a respect education program coordinator with the Red Cross, said the way schools are participating in the 2018 campaign ranges from signing “kindness pledges” to holding peer-to-peer support groups where students can share their own experiences.
For students to have a solid understanding of the issue, they have to hear from people who have displayed bullying behaviour as well as those who have been victims, because it helps them understand at a young age that their behaviour and actions can affect other people, she said.
“It’s important for kids to understand that every day, they’re presented with hundreds and thousands of little moments where they make a choice about how they treat people — and that in this world, where we can truly be anything that we want to be, the most important thing to choose is to be kind.”