Thousands of Grande Prairie area students are wearing pink to show that bullying is not ok. On Wednesday, schools in each of the area’s three divisions marked the 11th year of the anti-bullying campaign Pink Shirt Day. This is the first time the event has been held at Whispering Ridge Community School and Assistant Principal Abby Stilwell says it’s been great to see how the students have reacted.
“It’s been exciting to walk around the school this morning and see lots of kids wearing pink. Lots of smiles, lots of conversations about kindness, people talking about how they can stand up against bullying. Like I said I think the biggest piece of that is actually that sense of community and promoting kindness and friendships in our building.”
Pink Shirt Day was started in 2007 at a high school in Nova Scotia. David Shepherd, Travis Price and their friends decided to wear pink after they saw a grade 9 student being bullied for wearing the colour. Whispering Ridge grade eight student Lena Hildebrand says it’s nice to see something as small as that turn into an event held all around the world.
“I think it’s a really nice cause and the way it started with the one kid being bullied for wearing a pink shirt and it came up all the way to now. I think it’s really cool and I think it’s really nice that boys [can] wear pink shirts [as well as] girls.”
Throughout the day, the school held a dance called the Sea of Pink Sock hop where each class could go and dance together. Staff were also collecting post-it notes where students could write down ideas on how to be kind to one another. Eighth-grader Samantha Zhang wants other students to know that it’s ok to be different.
“I think I want them to know that they can wear a pink shirt and support no bullying and that it’s not bad to wear a pink shirt. It’s ok if you’re really anything.”
A number of other events took place around the Grande Prairie area for Pink Shirt Day. Composite High School hosted a Pink Your Hair event where the cosmetology students temporarily dyed people’s hair pink and at St. Mary Catholic School in Beaverlodge, they held a buddy lunch where everyone ate lunch with a partner.