On February 28th, do your part to eliminate bullying in schools across Canada by celebrating Red Cross Pink Day.
The history of Pink Day
The Canadian Red Cross started supporting Pink Day in 2007 after a bullying incident at a school in Cambridge, Nova Scotia.
A Grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. David Shepherd and Travis Price, two Grade 12 students at the school, were upset by what they saw and called on their classmates to wear pink to show the bullies that their behavior wouldn't be tolerated. Students at the school turned up the next day decked out in pink t-shirts, sending a powerful message to the bullies.
When the Grade 9 student walked into school the next day and saw all the pink shirts, he was amazed.
"It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders," said Travis Price, in an interview with The Globe & Mail.
Red Cross Pink Day calls on both parents and kids to band together and step in when they see bullying, instead of being a bystander.
How to find events in your area
Schools, community organizations and workplaces across Canada hold events to celebrate Red Cross Pink Day, raise awareness about bullying and help parents support their children to stand up to bullies.
The Canadian Red Cross website has a helpful directory for Pink Day events taking place across Canada. Explore events in Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and Saskatchewan.
In addition to joining an event in your local community, there are many other ways to celebrate Pink Day.
Foremost, make sure you wear pink on February 28th. Share photos of yourself wearing pink using the hashtag #PinkDay.
You can also share stories of your experiences of bullying and spread messages of friendship and acceptance with the hashtags #BeSomeonesHero.
Another way to show your support is to change your Facebook profile picture to the official Red Cross Pink Day image.
How parents can help kids with bullying
As a parent, you can help your child deal with bullies in a safe and constructive way and prevent the bullying of others.
If your child is being bullied, be sure to keep an open line of communication with them and actively listen when they talk to you about their experiences at school. Encourage them to tell you about any problems they have at school and to report bullying to school officials. Many children can feel guilty about what their parents will think if they find out they are being bullied, so assure them that you will not be mad and will do everything you can to support them.
"Pay attention to the warning signs that your child is being bullied."
Emphasize that violence is never an answer to bullying. Work with your child to establish a support team that includes trusted family members, teachers and school counsellors, the Canadian Red Cross recommends. You should also make sure you are regularly complimenting your child on their talents and strengths, telling them you love them and praising them for their accomplishments, all of which can help them build their self-esteem.
In addition, as a parent you should teach your child to never stand by and watch if someone else is being bullied. Instead, if it is safe, they should intervene, and if it is not safe, get the help of an adult.
Finally, pay attention to the warning signs that your child is being bullied. In addition to physical signs of violence such as bruises, if your child is suddenly withdrawn, seems agitated or stressed, stops eating or or starts to dread going to school, they may be being bullied.
Cyberbullying has many forms, and may include online harassment on social media networks and private messages that are shared with people who are not the intended recipient.
According to Stop a Bully, 2 out of 5 parents report that their child has been cyberbullied. Furthermore, 76 percent of educators think that cyberbullying is a very or somewhat serious problem at their school.
No child should have an unsafe environment at school. Don't be a bystander. And on February 28th, let's band together to show that bullying has no place in schools or online.