A recent survey of Alberta children and youth found that 50 per cent had been bullied since the start of the school year and 36 per cent admitted to engaging in this form of harassment at least once during the year. The Redford government recognizes that the only way to address bullying in our schools and communities is for students, parents, teachers, administrators, trustees and community partners to come together to create and support environments where bullying is less likely to occur.
Pink Shirt Day began in Nova Scotia when a Grade 9 student was bullied because he wore a pink shirt to school. In response to the event, several students organized themselves, purchased pink shirts and distributed them to other students. The following morning, the school foyer was awash with students wearing pink. You can see the whole story at www.iccrevalcore.net/Sito_Polo/Agio%20e%20Benessere/story_of_pink_shirt_day.pdf.
Since that time, a number of schools, communities and organizations have participated in Pink Shirt Day by encouraging people to wear something pink as both a proactive message of support for youth who have experienced bullying and as a way for people to show their commitment to refrain from bullying behaviours.
The Deputy Minister of Education encourages schools to participate in Pink Shirt Day on February 27, 2013. Information and strategies for bullying prevention can be found at www.education.alberta.ca/teachers/safeschools/bullying-prevention.aspx.
We all want to stop bullying in Alberta’s schools and communities. We can do it—if we work together. Participation in Pink Shirt Day is one way to raise awareness that everyone has a role to play in preventing bullying and creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments for all students.