OES celebrating Pink Shirt Day, 2017.
Crédit photo : Yvonne Lewis-Langlois
Emily Southwood –
This February, Ormstown Elementary School is celebrating Pink Shirt Day—a worldwide initiative to end bullying—by wearing pink t-shirts every Wednesday for a month.
The impressive Pink Shirt Day campaign started with two boys from small-town Nova Scotia who organized a high-school protest to support their friend who had been bullied for his pink shirt. Their symbolic act was to hand out pink t-shirts to all of the boys in the school. After the powerful show of support, the bullies completely backed down.
Others were inspired by the witty and effective idea, which spread quickly, gaining momentum and financial support. The resulting campaign has now spread worldwide with 180 countries triumphing anti-bullying by wearing pink shirts on February 28th. Ormstown Elementary cycle three teacher, Anne Marie McCaffrey, initially shared the concept with her classes and student leadership group. Last year, the Grade 6 students at OES designed their very own pink t-shirt. It cleverly reads from front to back: Put bullying… behind you. #PinkSquad
The entire school has now committed to wearing the student-designed shirts every Wednesday throughout the month of February. Valuable lessons about the impact of bullying are also being taught throughout the month. Principal Joanne Henrico explains, “We weave the campaign into our teaching at each grade level to insure that students understand why we wear the shirts and what our responsibility is in doing so.”
As for how pink t-shirts have been made available to all students, free of charge, Principal Henrico explains, “Part of the funding that OES receives from the Ministry of Education requires us to engage in some anti-violence/bullying initiatives. With the support of our Governing Board, we decided to continue to invest in the pink t-shirt campaign, building on the awareness developed last year. This funding paid for new t-shirts for all of our new students and those who may have grown out of their old ones!” The remaining funds will be spent on bringing in a play performed by Geordie Productions. The play, entitled “The Mountain”, touches upon the themes of friendship and bullying. The official Pink Shirt Day of the anti-bullying campaign is February 28th and everyone is encouraged to “practice kindness and show that you do not tolerate bullying.” Learn more about the national campaign at: https://www.pinkshirtday.ca/about/