Photo Caption: Students and Youth Leaders gather in Nova Scotia to Stand Up to Bullying on Pink Shirt Day
On February 26, 2020* youth organizations all over the world will be wearing pink shirts, standing in solidarity with those who are victims of bullying in schools in the United States, Canada, and across the globe.
The movement, now called Pink Shirt Day, started in Canada in 2008 when two senior students, David Shepherd and Travis Price, at Central Kings Rural High School in Nova Scotia took a stand against bullying.
When a group of students were harassing 9th grader Chuck McNeill who showed up on the first day wearing a pink polo shirt, calling McNeill a homosexual and threatening to beat him up, Shepherd and Price decided that they would do something to keep this from happening. They went to a local thrift store and bought all the pink shirts the store had on hand.
Armed with pink fabric, Shepherd and Price sent out an email blast to their classmates encouraging them to wear pink and offering shirts to anyone who didn’t have one. The next day, McNeil was greeted by a sea of pink at the school, proving to him and to all who witnessed the movement that the school would stand behind anyone who was the victim of bullying.
McNeil wasn’t bothered again after that.
The movement gained international recognition when LGBTQ+ celebrity icon Ellen Degeneres heard about the event and shared it with her fans.
Stand Up to Bullying on Pink Shirt Day
In June of 2010, the World Health Organization referred to bullying a “major health problem” that demands “the concerted and coordinated time and attention of health-care providers, policy-makers, and families.”
Bullying occurs when a person or group aims to scare or harm an individual repeatedly. Forms of this include (but are not limited to) name-calling, inflicting physical pain, public humiliation, threatening behavior, withholding resources, and vandalism.
Everyone can make a stand against bullying, no matter if you’re 6 or 60. For Pink Shirt Day at the end of February, here are some things you can do especially to show your solidarity:
- Wear Pink! And if anyone asks, tell them why you’re wearing that color. There are also official pink shirts you can buy.
- If you witness bullying or if you are being bullied yourself, don’t keep it a secret. Talk to someone you trust. If you don’t know who to trust,
- When someone is being bullied, stand up for them. Sometimes that means buying pink shirts. Sometimes it just means that the victim of bullying doesn’t feel like they’re in this alone.
- Don’t be a bully yourself. Practice kindness and consideration wherever possible.
Because the issue is so prevalent, there are several anti-bullying events throughout the year. Here are a few:
The Day of Pink – April 8, 2020
GLSEN Day of Silence – April 24, 2020
International Stand Up To Bullying Day – November 20th, 2020
* Some organizations mark the day in February as the last Friday, the 28th – but the official organization – Pinkshirtday.ca – the event will be held on the last Wednesday in February, the 26th. There is also an additional Day of Pink held each year on April 8th.
Pink Shirt Day – Official Site
Stomp Out Bullying – Official Site
Bullied student tickled pink by schoolmates’ T-shirt campaign – CBC News
Stand Up Against Bullying Day Proclaimed – The Government of Nova Scotia
Prevention of bullying-related morbidity and mortality: a call for public health policies – The World Health Organization