“Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words will never harm me”
Above is an English rhyme for children that is reported to have first appeared back in the 1800s. While this line may be true on so many levels but the fact remains that our children are still suffering from hurtful actions and words, otherwise known as Bullying. That is why we need an anti-bullying day!
Not everyone has heard of the event, but Anti Bullying Day is starting to spread in popularity, much of the distribution being due to social media and the ability to explain the event via the Internet. Anti Bullying Day first began as a singular high school event in Nova Scotia, Canada, with a groups of students participating by choosing to wear a pink shirt to school. The color and date were chosen to signify a visual support to protest and stand against activities that constitute bullying. This event gained its approach when a boy in the ninth grade at the same school had previously been bullied by other teens for the simple innocent act of wearing a pink shirt one day when school started. The event organizers then used that incident as a catalyst to create 50 pink shirts and protest both the act and how the student was treated when bullied in 2007.
A year later, Anti Bullying Day gained greater exposure when the Premier of the province of British Columbia joined the movement and stated February 27 would from then on be Anti-Bullying Day. Since that time, except for 2009 when it was marked on February 2009, kids across Canada have been wearing a pink shirt or celebrating a pink shirt day for Anti-Bullying Day.
The event now takes different forms, depending which school is involved, producing shows with bands, crafts, speeches, educational programs, and community assistance activities. Every element involved focuses on some aspect of promoting anti-bullying and related messages. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate, and often many organization participants set up booths to speak with people attending one-on-one, distribute printed information, or to distribute free marketing products promotion anti-bullying or resources for helping victims of bullying.
Not surprisingly, many events also sell or even give away hats and shorts with anti-bullying messages or slogans, all being part of a general education effort to convert thinking and perspectives socially over time.
The event is now widespread across Canada and is growing in size. For example, in the province of Manitoba, as many as 17,000 students engaged and participated in wearing pink against bullying activities. Much of the activity as well as the province’s government involvement was triggered after a student committed suicide in 2012 in British Columbia due to cyber bullying she suffered. Teachers in the province’s schools have been witnesses to a steady rise in bullying, particularly with the use of the Internet. Further, those that deal with the effects and grow up, still carry the scars afterwards, affecting their adulthood and socialization. So Manitoba’s efforts and their own involvement in Anti Bullying Day is now seen as beneficial both short-term and long-term.
The annual event is a perfect example of a grassroots effort to generate a response to bullying in school, particularly in the high school arena. The hope is that the same approach can carry to more and more schools exponentially over time, making Anti Bullying Day an anticipated event annually. Not only does the event promote prevention and safety of students, it also pushes awareness, reminding students as well as adults in schools that everyone has a responsibility to stop bullying when it occurs, for themselves as well as for others who may not be able to speak up at the time its occurring.
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