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Pink Shirt Day

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Don’t ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.”

– Lady Gaga

Pink Shirt Day is inspired by the actions of two grade 12 students in Nova Scotia in 2007 named David Sheppard and Travis Price. The two witnessed a new student being bullied for wearing a pink polo shirt on the first day of school.  Price and Sheppard went out and bought several women’s pink tank tops and implored their fellow students to wear pink at the end of the week. Most of the students wore pink to support the new student who was bullied.  Pink Shirt Day was started in February later that year. Travis Price explains the Story of Pink Shirt day: 

It is always the last Wednesday in February.

Many students have a good idea about what bullying is because most will experience it in some form.  Bullying involves physical, verbal and mental abuse. We celebrate because Bullying can cause pain and trauma that can last a lifetime. Victims of Bullying report a loss of interest in school and less than half of Canadian students will report their bullying to a teacher. Cyberbullying has also become more prevalent. Bullying for boys peaks in grade 9, whereas for girls it peaks in grade 6, 8 and 9. We need to teach and learn tolerance, understanding and acceptance of others. 

Everyone can Participate and should participate in Pink Shirt Day. Only together can we work to stop bullying. Bullies often pick on those they see as weak.  Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and feel safe. 

In your school, at home, in your community – everywhere! You also don’t have to be anti-bullying for one day each year, it is something you can do every day, no matter what colour your shirt is.

You can celebrate it in many ways, such as: wearing a pink shirt, speaking up about bullying, learning bystander intervention techniques and with some fun theatrical exercises that will promote the value of others around you. Youth-led anti-bullying work is known to increase student and staff interventions in schools. 

Event Days give you the ability to not only explore Pink Shirt Day, but also an opportunity to broaden that learning into experiential projects which can be shared. You can share them throughout your school, with other classes, and even more broadly if you choose. The ability for your students to not only have a project of their own, but to be able to see what other students were able to come up with, broadens the viewpoints and creates more dialogue surrounding the issues.

One size does not fit all

How you and your school decide to use the suggested activities, performances, and resources will depend completely on what you and your peers are comfortable with, and the time you have available to designate to the project(s). Trickster is also available to consult with if you would like extra help, resource connections, and/or coordination. You can go big, involving every class with different projects, performances and events throughout the school, or, you can go as small as just doing an activity listed in the materials for your own class which you believe will help them connect to the subject matter. 

Due to the circumstances of COVID19, not everything suggested will be possible, and many will need to be adjusted to suit your needs and comfort level. As we hope to carry this forward, and know that schools are looking to future projects much further down the road, we do want to plant the seeds for what those event days might look like too. There will be suggestions throughout on how you can modify activities for social distancing, but you are also able at any point to choose and modify activities and projects to achieve the level of safety your school is comfortable with.

Why Teachers Love It

Our residency was a unifying and motivating experience that we used as a way to begin our year long inquiry about children’s rights.

— Lisa McConnell, Teacher, North Haven School, Calgary

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