Pink Shirt Day
Today is Pink Shirt Day. If you’re not aware of this, don’t feel badly, I wasn’t either until early this morning when I heard it on the radio. Fortunately, I was able to adjust my wardrobe selection to include a pink shirt.
Although Pink Shirt Day is an international event highlighting the problem of bullying in schools, it’s roots are in Canada. The story behind it is actually a pretty amazing one:
A Grade 9 boy in the small community of Cambridge in Nova Scotia wore a pink polo shirt on his first day of school.
Bullies harassed him, calling him a homosexual and threatened to beat him up. Two Grade 12 students, David Shepherd and Travis Price, heard about the situation and decided that “enough was enough”.
Shepherd and Price bought 50 pink shirts from a nearby discount store and began a campaign for the next day. They emailed fellow students to solicit support for their anti-bullying cause which they called a “sea of pink.”
Support was huge – not only were classmates wearing the discount tees, hundreds of students dressed in their own pink clothing.
The result? Shepherd said of the victim, “Definitely it looked like there was a big weight lifted off his shoulders. He went from looking right depressed to being as happy as can be.” As for the bullies, apparently they’ve had little to say since.
Here in BC, Premier Gordon Campbell has declared February 25 as Anti-Bullying Day to support efforts to stop bullying in schools and communities throughout the province. Other provinces have done the same. And in New Zealand, far from a small town in Nova Scotia, Labour MPs are supporting the first Pink Shirt Day in that country.
Half the battle against bullying is awareness. The website pinkshirtday.ca offers resources including signs to watch for, useful contact numbers (for BC, Canada) and helpful links. They also recommend the following books:
Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me by Michele Ed.D. Borba
The Bully, The Bullied, and The Bystander by Barbara Coloroso
Simon With Two Left Feet by Angela K. Narth, Heidi Vincent (Illustrator)
Other recommendations from various sources…
- Bootsie Barker Bites by Barbara Bottner, Peggy Rathman (Illustrator)
- The Araboolies of Liberty Street by Sam Swope, Barry Root (Illustrator)
- Goggles! by Ezra Jack Keats
- The New Dog by Barbara Shook Hazen, R.W. Alley (Illustrator)
- Weekend With Wendell by Kevin Henkes
- Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes
- Attack of the Killer Fishsticks by Paul Zindel
- Bad Girls by Cynthia Voigt
- Bully in Sight by Tim Field
- Adult Bullying. Perpetrators and Victims by Peter Randall
- Fighting Back: Overcoming Bullying in the Workplace by David Graves
- Controlling People How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You by Patricia Evans
- Bullying: From Backyard to Boardroom by Paul McCarthy