Dozens of lakecity students and seniors came together Wednesday morning to socialize and show their support for Pink Shirt Day.
Pink Shirt Day is an anti-bullying movement recognized around the world on Feb. 27. Students, teachers and community members are invited to wear pink as a way to raise awareness about bullying and its continued impacts on the youth within our society.
Wednesday at Cataline Elementary’s Intergenerational Immersion visit to Williams Lake Seniors Village, students and residents joined together to speak out against bullying. A sea of pink occupied the Seniors Village’s lobby as the students and their buddies played games and talked about their different life experiences.
For some residents like 89-year-old Sture Kallman, bullying was not something he experienced in his childhood in Sweden but is something he has seen as a persistent problem as an adult. Kallman wore many hats in his younger years working as a construction worker, circus tightrope walker and eventually a rancher in the Cariboo before coming to live the Seniors Village.
“I think things have changed lately. I noticed there is a lot of bullying all over the world and I do not like it. I’m dead against it. I feel it’s unfair when you’re picking on another person just because they’re another race, smaller or maybe more handsome,” Kallman said. “I’m not afraid to wear my pink shirt.”
His distaste for bullying was difficult to put into words, but Kallman simply settled on saying he’s not able to stand it at all.
Cataline student and fellow card player Jaxson Dikur agreed that bullying remains an issue in schools today that’s important to continue to confront. Dikur said that lots of people still get bullied in society today in a lot of ways, be it in the playground sense or the cyber realm.
“We’re here today to obviously have fun with Sture and support anti-bullying day and just have fun with all the seniors,” Dikur said. “We’re all just trying to put a stop to (bullying).”
That being said Dikur believes that, while it’s definitely still going on, bullying is on the decline overall in schools.
According to the Canadian Red Cross, teachers listed bullying overwhelmingly at 89 per cent as being their issue of highest concern for their students. Of the students who are bullied, meanwhile, more then half do not report being bullied to a teacher.
For veteran teacher Steve Dickens, who has spent 10 of his 26 years of teaching at Cataline, the Intergenerational Immersion Program is one of the most rewarding programs he’s ever had the pleasure to help run and facilitate. Watching young people bond with senior citizens warms his heart, and he believes sharing experiences together is important for both his students and the seniors.
“I would suggest that most of my young kids, already at their young age, have been bullied so they know what it feels like to be bullied. (This day) is just a good reminder for us in our busy lives and cozy environments that there is bullying that happens every day,” Dickens said. “It’s just a reminder for these students, if they see it happening, to be proactive and stop it.”