While bullying is still an issue, pink shirt day now focusses on kindness. (file photo)

Sooke schools shift into new Pink Shirt Day approach

Emphasis is now on kindness

Pink Shirt Day has become well-known in Canada since its inception in 2007, but in Sooke and across Canada, the day has taken on a different theme this year.

“We’re keeping it pretty low-key this year,” said Tess Vally, principal of Sooke elementary school.

“We’ll be emphasizing kindness. We’re not calling it bullying anymore, but instead we’re shifting it to the positive and talking about how we should all be kind to one another.”

The children will be encouraged to wear pink to mark the day (Feb. 27), but there will be no rallies or large scale presentations.

“We’ll be reading a book about kindness over the PA and individual classes will talk about the importance of kindness.”

Over at Edward Milne community school, the students will also be marking Pink Shirt Day starting with an activity they’ve dubbed “It’s the Small Things that Matter”.

“It’s the message of building and fostering positive relationships that will be the focus of our Pink Shirt Day,” said vice-principal Todd Powell.

“The Leadership program wanted to provide opportunities for staff and students to anonymously write down a positive ‘small thing’ they wish another person to know. This could be a kind word, a pat on the back, or a simple compliment. The school has done activities similar to this in the past, with positive results.”

The shift from confronting bullies to teaching the basic concept of kindness is an approach that isn’t unique to Sooke.

Sara Dubois-Phillips, the executive director of the CKNW Kids Fund that organizes the annual Pink Shirt Day nationally, acknowledged that the focus is no longer on bullying.

“We don’t really love the label bully. Everyone has different life experiences and kindness is something we can do that’s positive,” she said.

RELATED: Cyberbullying weighs heavily on young people

The Canadian Red Cross has been a sponsor of Pink Shirt Day in the past but said that they have made some changes that have them no longer formally involved in Pink Shirt Day activities. They will provide schools with resource guides.

The move to a positive message about kindness comes within an environment where a poll by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation indicated that 89 per cent of Canadian teachers ranked bullying and violence as serious problems in the public schools.

Pink Shirt Day started in Nova Scotia in 2007 when a group of teenagers rallied around a Grade 9 classmate who was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. They took a stand by all wearing pink shirts.

While the approach of standing up to bullies has a certain visceral appeal, Dubois-Phillips said that the old approach is not as effective as addressing bullying with a positive approach.

“If we confront it with kindness it’s more effective. It’s a positive behaviour that will help them understand what it means to be a good friend for the rest of their lives,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

The shores will not rock in 2019

Atomique Productions announce Rock the Shores festival will not return in 2019, future is uncertain

Video shows logging operation on disputed Saturna Island land

Tsawout First Nation members opposed to logging on reserve land

Family still searching for missing Langford man two weeks after disappearance

Family hopeful he is alive, offering $10,000 reward

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Most Read