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Saskatchewan schools celebrate Pink Shirt Day ahead of February break

Click to play video: 'How you can support Pink Shirt Day 2022' How you can support Pink Shirt Day 2022
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Students and staff at Saskatchewan schools celebrated Pink Shirt Day on Wednesday.

Pink Shirt Day started in 2007 in Nova Scotia when two students, David Shepherd and Travis Price, noticed a Grade 9 boy being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.

Read more: Specialist says ‘isolation, anger’ signs a child may be being bullied

Shepherd and Price took action by purchasing 50 pink shirts and handing them out to students to wear the next day in support of the student who was bullied.

National Pink Shirt Day falls on Feb. 23 but with most Saskatchewan students on break during that time, school divisions celebrated it a week earlier.

Regina Public Schools spokesperson Terry Lazarou said it was important to honour this day before the break to make sure students have the chance to participate.

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“In Regina Public schools, this day has become an important one for empowering students to speak out against homophobia, transphobia and bullying in general, and to show solidarity for their fellow students,” Lazarou said.

“All students and staff have a right to learn, work and interact in a safe, caring and affirming environment, and to be accepted for the human beings they are. Underscoring this is Regina Public Schools’ Shared Values: I respect; I belong; I am responsible and I want to know.”

SaskTel is also participating in Pink Shirt Day through their Be Kind Online program.

Read more: Transgender wrestler provides mentorship to other wrestlers experiencing bullying

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Communications manager Jodine Smith acknowledged that the devices the company sells can be used for cyberbullying, so Be Kind Online was created to help eradicate that.

“It’s based on providing resources and contact information for people who might be experiencing cyberbullying or know someone else who is,” Smith told Global News.

The contact information is provided on Be Kind Online’s website.

Smith said the program also partners with the education ministry on the program.

Grants of up to $1,000 are also available for youth-led initiatives in Saskatchewan that “promote kindness and promote anti-cyberbullying.”

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Additionally, Be Kind Online is running a contest where participants can win $5,000, split between the participant and a charity of their choice.

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