This Wednesday is Bullying Awareness Day in B.C., also called Pink Shirt Day. It is important that we talk about bullying, which is a serious issue that affects so many people. This week I’d like to take some time to focus on this important topic.
Bullying is not a new problem. It has been around a long time, and it won’t go away unless we make a strong, united effort to get rid of it. We all need to work on it together at every level, from the government to students standing up for fellow students who are being bullied.
That’s why we’ve set aside this Wednesday as Bullying Awareness Day, to make sure people know that this problem exists and that we must all do our part.
Some types of bullying are difficult to deal with, like cyber bullying. To address it, our government launched the ERASE Bullying (Expect Respect And a Safe Education) program, which creates tools and training to get rid of cyber bullying. The new ERASE Bullying website allows youth to report bullying anonymously, and provides information and resources for parents. While the government can do its part, putting an end to bullying also needs to be an individual effort.
Pink Shirt Day was inspired by the amazing story of a couple of teenage boys who stood up to bullying. A fellow student was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt, and these two students went out and bought a large number of pink t-shirts and convinced fellow students to all wear them one day. The student being bullied realized he wasn’t alone, and the bullies weren’t heard from again. Now, every year, people around the province are wearing pink on Pink Shirt Day to show their support.
Like the students that inspired Pink Shirt Day, all of us can do our part to erase bullying in our neighbourhood.
On Wednesday, I encourage everyone to participate in Pink Shirt Day. To learn more about what you can do to prevent bullying, visit www.pinkshirtday.ca and www.erasebullying.ca.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.