Students across the Southeast Kootenay district are preparing to take a stand against bullying as Pink Shirt Day approaches on Feb. 24th.
More than just wearing a pink shirt, the day—and indeed throughout the whole week—students themselves are taking the initiative to organize and participate in school activities to push back against bullying.
Lynn Hauptman, the superintendent for SD5, says most schools in the district are doing something to mark the occasion.
“It’s so important that we’re all aware of what our words and actions can do to people and that’s something that we continue to work and education our students about and our students, as a result of that, have taken a real lead in helping to create that bully awareness and standing up when they see bullying happening and helping out their fellow students,” Hauptman said.
Most schools will be holding assemblies on Feb. 24; Highlands Elementary School will be having an assembly run by a student leadership team with skits, videos and discussion topics. Parkland Middle School is adopting a slogan of ‘One Size Fits All’ as students are selling pink shirts with proceeds going to a charity yet to be determined.
Outside Cranbrook, Sparwood Secondary will be donning pink attire and putting on an assembly. Students will bring a positive message written on a piece of paper and attach it to a poster that will be displayed. Jaffray Elementary/Junior Secondary School had a member of their student council adopt a classroom and created a collage of handprints on a wall and the message: ‘With heart and helping hands, a child can accomplish anything’.
Hauptman also noted that bullying isn’t just something that happens on playgrounds anymore as teens are highly active on social media.
“Cyberbullying is a whole new part of the world that certainly, for many of us, we can’t even comprehend it because it’s not what we grew up with,” Hauptman said. “But again, in the district, we’ve done a lot of education in terms of cyberbullying and helping parents to be aware of that as well, so they can report and move forward with things in terms of cyberbullying.”
She adds that anti-bullying initiatives aren’t just for schools and that it’s something that entire communities can get behind, citing the way the Kootenay Ice have embraced the event, with their Pink the Rink night on Feb. 26 when they host the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Even at the SD5 district office, the staff will do their part, she continued.
“We do something here at the board office too, we dress up in pink and bring in pink food. We like to support what’s going on in the schools as well. I try to get out to the schools wearing my pink shirt too,” Hauptman said.
“It’s really a campaign that’s started a few years ago that has grown and grown across Canada, but it has really grown here in our school district and I’m really proud of the work that our schools do and the leadership that the kids take on this day.”