Pink Shirt Day is more than just attire, it helps end bullying

Pink Shirt Day began as a gesture between high school friends in Nova Scotia, standing up for a younger peer who was being bullied.

Since this act of kindness in 2007, the movement has made national waves, and is celebrated each year on February 27 in schools and communities across the globe. Last year, people in 180 countries participated in Pink Shirt Day, showing their support by wearing pink shirts, hosting events, posting to social media, and making donations. Students in Golden participate each year, and even have shirts made specifically for the occasion.

Golden Secondary School (GSS) principal Iris Trask works hard to promote positivity and kindness in her school.

The Ministry of Education states that Pink Shirt Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the harmful effects of all forms of bullying, and it supports programs that foster health self-esteem in children.

“Bullying can happen anywhere – in our schools, workplaces, homes, and online, and we must all work together to address it,” the statement reads, adding that the ministry intends to take a stand against all forms of bullying, today and every day.

The Pink Shirt Day movement continues to grow as more communities around the world participate, and it continues to raise funds through online merchandise and donations to help children who are affected by bullying. Throughout its history, Pink Shirt Day has helped to raise more than $1.8 million to support youth anti-bullying programs in B.C. and Western Canada, supporting programs that have impacted more than 59,000 youth and children.

Students in B.C. also have the Expect Respect and a Safe Education (ERASE) program. One of the parts of this program is an anonymous online reporting tool for students. Students are encouraged to report anything they find worrisome or concerning about their safety or the safety of someone else. The reports are then administered to the school safety staff through the secure online platform. The reporting tool is available at www.erase.gov.bc.ca or www.erasereportit.gov.bc.ca.

ERASE works with schools and students to educate and assist with online safety, bullying and violence, mental health and wellbeing, substance use, and sexual orientation and gender identity.

In April, GSS will host assemblies promoting “Out in Schools – Opening Hearts and Changing Minds.”

The Out in Schools program is British Columbia’s award-winning education program that uses film and video with facilitated group discussion to engage students on issues surrounding homophobia, transphobia, and bullying.

Out in Schools works to inspire youth to overcome challenges of LGBT2Q+ communities, and works to engage youth in safe and inclusive learning environments. Out in Schools has reached more than 100,000 youth since it began visiting schools in 2004. More information is available at www.outinschools.com.

Everyone at GSS are committed to keeping a positive and healthy environment for all of its staff and students.

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