SD73 Stands Together on Pink Shirt Day–Allies Against Bullying and Harassment

Posted On Wednesday February 22, 2023
Pink Shirt Day
Liam and Serena from Mrs. Aaltonen's Grade 1 class are pictured with their class kindness cloud. Liam says, It is important to be nice and always say sorry!

In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, Kamloops-Thompson students, staff, parents, and community partners co-created the Cultural and Identity Development Priority: To develop a sense of identity in individuals and cultural safety and humility in communities.

Student groups (Student Equity Council, SOGI, Aboriginal Student Advisory Council, District Student Advisory Council) work together to identify structures and practices that are racist, homophobic, and transphobic. They collaborate within their communities to work against and break down these barriers, and to share collective acts of solidarity against human rights violations.

One important act of solidarity happens on Wednesday, February 22, 2023–Pink Shirt Day.

Pink Shirt Day is a global tradition established 16 years ago when teenage friends– David Shepherd, Travis Price and a small group of peers, organized a high-school protest to wear pink to stand together as allies with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied because of wearing a pink shirt. They went further to distribute pink shirts to everyone in their school the following day. This “sea of pink shirts” became a visual symbol of solidarity to stand together against harassment based on what someone chooses to wear or who they are.

After David and Travis’ act of kindness in 2007, CKNW promoted wearing pink shirts as public allies of this day to stand together for other youth affected by bullying. Since then, Pink Shirt Day has become a worldwide campaign championing the right to be cared for and safe in communities, and not to be bullied or harassed. Last year alone, people in almost 180 countries shared their support of Pink Shirt Day through social media posts and donations.

Many schools are taking part in various activities to celebrate this day, and we have profiled a few of them:

Kay Bingham Elementary School

Students and staff at Kay Bingham Elementary School kicked off the month of February with a school-wide assembly focusing on kindness and compassion. Students from Mrs. Henderson’s, Mrs. Covaceuszach’s, and Ms. Gardner's buddy classes put together video clips showing what kindness and compassion can look like at our school and in our community. Classes have been practicing various ways to embrace Pink Shirt Day-Anti-bullying Day throughout this month.

In one particular activity, each class took part in making a school-wide kindness cloud, including an individual heart made by every student, sharing how they show kindness to others. The school community is encouraged to wear pink to school on February 22 to show our support of Pink Shirt Day! Classes have also been watching diversity films throughout this month.

Marion Schilling Elementary

Students and staff at Marion Schilling Elementary School are encouraged to wear pink, and we created a custom order of ‘Mavericks Choose Kindness’ Pink shirts. We have been focused on kindness for the month of February, with a kindness calendar for daily ideas and activities of how to show someone that they matter and are cared for in their community.

We kicked off February with an assembly to encourage teachers to use the diversity videos created by District staff. From Feb. 21 - 28, the admin team at the school is making ‘breakfast for lunch’ (pancakes) for each class/staff in the school. On February 22, we had another whole school assembly to celebrate all that we accomplished to support every person in our community to feel cared for and included.

Brock Middle School

At Brock Middle School, we are committed to creating safe, inclusive environments every day. On Pink Shirt Day, our student leadership group decided to visit every classroom to do a short talk about Pink Shirt Day to explain the meaning, and to do a short activity that will require students to share what they are doing to cocreate caring, safe, and inclusive spaces in the school and to support everyone to feel valued and cared for. Their messages will be written on big white hearts, which will be delivered to classrooms and signed by students with an uplifting message in pink. These hearts are going to be collected and a display is going to be made on the bulletin board at the front of the school.

Students custom-designed and ordered pink wristbands that are going to be delivered to each class on Pink Shirt Day so students have something to wear to show their support. A school photo is going to be taken for those who wish to join in at the front of the school of everyone (staff and students) who are wearing pink in support of anti-bullying!

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