Pink Shirt Day at Heroes’ Memorial last Wednesday

By Louise Smith

Wednesday, Feb. 23, was Pink Shirt Day in Canada. Quite a few schools in the Eastern Townships School Board participated in the day. At Heroes’ Memorial School, in Cowansville , principal Katrina Paxton reported that 80 students and staff wore pink shirts. Students who wore pink shirts will have their names entered into a drawing and a book prize for each cycle will be awarded in the near future. But the anti-bullying event did not need a prize for students to be able to discuss the issue. Several classrooms also had displays outside their rooms. Students in Ms. Bates’ Grade 6 class wrote poems from the viewpoint of either the bystander, the victim, or the bully. Here is one poem from the view of a victim of bullying.

I Am….. by Takoda Morse

I am the victim,
I wonder why he bullies
I hear the pain in his voice
I see that he wants attention
I want him to stop bullying
I am the victim

I pretend that he’s not hurting me
I feel like he’s mad at me because
he is jealous
I touch the tears on my face
I worry that he’s going to continue
I cry because he won’t stop bullying
I am the victim

I understand that he is not getting
enough attention
I say that if I was him I would stop
I dream of not being bullied
I try to stop him from bullying me
I hope he will stop
I am the victim

Pink Shirt Day began in Canada. In 2007, in a Nova Scotia high school, a male student in grade 9 was harassed and bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Two other high school students in a higher grade, David Shepherd and Travis Price, bought dozens of pink shirts and distributed them to classmates to wear the next day. The word spread on social media and hundreds of students showed up in pink.
The episode garnered a lot of attention and it has become an annual event in Canada ever since. The anti-bullying message has spread to other countries. The first country outside of Canada to adopt Pink Shirt Day was New Zealand in 2009.
The day has come to symbolize taking a stand against homophobic slurs and bullying in general. The new message is “Stand Up to Bullying!” (Maybe some pink shirts should be sent to Ukraine and Russia.)

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