This year Pink Shirt Day at Lake City Secondary schools on Feb. 23 will be a bit more subdued.
“With continuing COVID restrictions, having large assemblies and gatherings to navigate is challenging,” said Caitlin Sabatino, leadership and food studies teacher at Lake City Secondary – Williams Lake campus, who helps organize the anti-bullying activities at the school.
“So we’re encouraging individual teachers to address it in their classrooms.”
The problem of bullying has not gone away since the creation of Pink Shirt Day in Nova Scotia in 2007 and the statistics on the Pink Shirt Day website report that 75 per cent of people have experienced bullying and more than 90 per cent of those are witnessed by peers.
Pink Shirt Day started in Nova Scotia, when supporters of a Grade 9 boy who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt all showed up to school and handed out pink shirts to fellow students in solidarity.
The website also states that if peers intervene, most incidents are over within 10 seconds.
The statistics and the history reinforce Sabatino’s assertion that “it needs to be a collaborative effort.”
While engaging teens with organized activities to help create awareness around themes like anti-bullying can be a struggle, using art and a range of subjects or classroom activities can be a way to get through the noise.
“It’s really about reflecting on yourself too,” explained Sabatino.
While very few people can definitively say they have gone through life without bullying someone, whether purposefully or inadvertently, she said part of what Pink Shirt Day is about is recognizing past mistakes and trying to do better.
While you can’t undo something, you can acknowledge your mistakes and you can always try to improve.
After news coverage last week of a student at a B.C. high school being shouted at with offensive language by an adult protester outside the school, the goal of a more kind and inclusive world could not be more timely.
For more information on Pink Shirt Day, the aspirations and history, visit: pinkshirtday.ca
Pink Shirt Day at WL campus – TikTok videos, bake sale, small acts of kindness
This year, in order to recognize Pink Shirt Day while still maintaining health and safety guidelines, Pink Shirt Day will be marked at the Williams Lake campus with activities suited to smaller groups or individuals.
There will be a bake sale of pink-themed baked goods to raise money for a local charity that supports anti-bullying and youth programs.
There will also be a TikTok video contest. Videos with an anti-bullying theme by students will be eligible for a prize.
A “Kindness Wall” will be set up where students will be encouraged to leave anonymous positive messages for students and staff.
Students and staff are being encouraged to carry out small acts of kindness throughout the day, whether that is loaning a classmate a needed pencil or school supply or opening and holding doors for others.
Posters and banners created by students are being hung throughout the school with statistics and anti-bullying messages.