Schools across Canada celebrate Pink Shirt Day every year on Feb. 26, following in the footsteps of two Grade 12 students in Nova Scotia.
The pair launched the movement when they stood up for a younger student who was getting bullied for wearing a pink shirt on his first day of school in 2007.
The boys went out and bought a number of pink shirts to pass around for other students to wear, and the tradition has carried on.
Jennie Emery Elementary School Grade 4 students Briana, Cody and Mataya wore pink Wednesday, saying they understand the meaning behind the shirts, and the message it sends to others who see them.
“It says that people are out there and they’re there to help you… that someone loves [you],” Cody said.
Nicole Kaminski, a teacher at Jennie Emery School in Coaldale, said she is proud of the way the students treat one another. Not just on pink shirt day, but every day.
“If somebody has nobody to play with, kids are usually really good at including one another or finding someone to help solve problems,” Kaminski said.
She says the implementation of a new leadership program at the school has encouraged the students even further.
“We talk about being leaders in our school, and standing up for one another. Making sure we do the right thing, even when nobody is looking,” Kaminski said.
“So not just around adults or our friends, but around our neighbors, around our classmates… That we’re doing the right thing that we know is true in our hearts.”
As part of Pink Shirt Day, many students are taught a number of ways to address a bully, including standing up for others and seeking help from adults.
“They can go tell a teacher or ask a friend to help them,” Briana said.
“I talk to my parents, or my teachers or people around me,” Mataya added.
They also have open conversations about how to better show kindness and respect to one another every day.
“Kids get to help each other so they don’t get bullied anymore,” Cody said.
“Just be a nice person, and be a nice friend to all your friends that are surrounding you and your family.”