Grade 6 students Hanan Henlk and Malia Mitchelmore dressed in pink for Pink Shirt Day at Central Middle School on Wednesday. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Red Deer students don pink shirts to fight bullying

Pink Shirt Day theme this year is stopping online bullying and promoting kindness

Red Deer students are fighting bullying one pink shirt at a time.

Central Middle School students dressed in pink for Pink Shirt Day Wednesday in support of this year’s theme of encouraging youngsters to stop cyberbullying by thinking twice before posting negative comments online.

The aim is to get people to post kindness instead.

“I know a few friends who have been bullied and it’s a really rough position to be in and it’s not fun,” said Grade 7 student Megan Kilpatrick who wore pink in support of her friends. “It’s hard because you are not sure who to talk to.”

Pink Shirt Day gained national attention in 2007 after two Nova Scotia students encouraged their peers to wear pink t-shirts to support a friend who was being bullied. The day has come to represent anti-bullying across Canada and internationally.

The students took part in activities and heard from various speakers throughout the day.

French and Leadership teacher Laura Gough said the anti-bullying day helps hit home that it is unacceptable at the school.

“We have an incredibly diverse population. We are the only French immersion middle school. We have an ESL population. We have students from Africa, from Asia, from the Middle East, from all over. So we all have these different programs and lots of kids and they don’t get to mix often so it can be a breeding ground for bullying.”

But Gough said students may not be given enough credit for how much they try to prevent bullying when they see it.

“I worry we spend too much time thinking about the bullying and not appreciating how good our students are because they actually do an amazing job and lots of times they do stand up for each other — they bring to light what isn’t right and know what should be done.

“The most important thing is to just remind them that everything that they say, the actions they choose, should be from a positive perspective.”

While Pink Shirt Day is usually recognized on the last Wednesday of February, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools participated in Pink Shirt Day activities earlier in the month because of the winter break taking place this week until March 1st.

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