This year, February 24 marks an internationally recognized anti-bullying awareness day called "Pink Shirt Day." Pink Shirt Day was started in 2007 after a grade 9 student in Nova Scotia was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. His classmates decided to protest against this behaviour by having all of the boys in his grade wear pink shirts to school. Since then, millions of people wear pink shirts every year to take a stand against bullying.
The Pink Shirt Day organization has raised over $2.5 million since 2008 to support anti-bullying youth programs throughout Western Canada that, in 2020, positively impacted more than 59,000 youth and children.
You can show your support by wearing a pink shirt and posting a photo on social media with the hashtags #PinkShirtDay or #WhereToTurn. We have also prepared some resources to talk about anti-bullying with your children.
1 in 5 kids is affected by bullying. Here are some resources to help:
For Parents (from the Pink Shirt Day charity):
Build self esteem. Value your child’s contributions and achievements. If they are socially isolated at school, get them involved in community activities.
Teach your children that if they see someone being bullied, they should not watch, laugh, or join in.
Help kids see the value of offering empathy and support to those who are bullied.
Work with your school to educate others about the problem of bullying.
Model respectful behaviours at home and in your daily interactions.
Cyberbullying Tips (from the Pink Shirt Day charity):
Familiarize yourself with online activities. Learn about the websites, blogs, chat rooms and cyber lingo that your children are using.
Keep the computer in a common area so you can monitor activities.
Recognize that online communication is a very important social aspect in your child’s life. Do not automatically remove their online privileges if you find out about a cyberbullying experience.
Report incidents of online harassment, physical threats and bullying that occur over your child’s cell phone to your local police.
Help lines and websites:
Kids Help Phone | Call 1-800-688-6868 to talk to someone
I am someone | Text "211" to talk to someone
3 Anti-Bullying Books
Stick and Stone (2015)
Written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
"When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, a friendship is born. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favour? With simple rhyming text, subtle messages of kindness and compassion, and Tom Lichtenheld’s signature charm, this delightful story about making and helping friends will enchant readers young and old because it’s never too early—or too late—to stick up for your friends." —Goodreads
I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness (2018)
Written and illustrated by Kerascoët
"This simple yet powerful picture book–from a New York Times bestselling husband-and-wife team–tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. Inspired by real events, I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. By choosing only pictures to tell their story, the creators underscore the idea that someone can be an ally without having to say a word. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old." —Penguin Random House
You, Me, and Empathy (2017)
Written by Jayneen Sanders and illustrated by Sofia Cardoso
"One of the most important social skills a child can learn is empathy. Being able to understand how another person is feeling and recognizing their needs helps people to connect to one another across race, culture and the diversity that is ever-present and so important to our world. This charming story uses verse, beautiful illustrations and a little person called Quinn to model the meaning of empathy. Throughout the story, Quinn shows an abundance of understanding, compassion and kindness towards others. Showing empathy towards others is a learnt trait, and one to nurture and cherish with the children in our care." —Educate2Empower Publishing