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Bishop James Mahoney High School students burning their burdens for Pink Shirt Day

BJM Pink Shirt Day. Burning a piece of paper with something that's weighing them down. Slavo Kutas

More than 700 students at Bishop James Mahoney High School in Saskatoon are standing up against bullying, as part of Random Acts of Kindness and Pink Shirt Day.

Pink Shirt Day is celebrated nationally on Feb. 23rd, but students in Saskatchewan will be on break so the anti-bullying day was being marked early, on Feb. 17.

Students wrote their own anti-bullying messages on paper balloons before hanging them in the cafeteria to create eight massive paper air balloons.

Read more: Saskatchewan schools celebrate Pink Shirt Day ahead of February break

“I like the message because if anyone’s having a bad day, they can look at it and see everyone is here for them,” said Hannah Guttormson, Grade 9 student.

After that, students wrote a message about something that was weighing them down. They then lit the piece of paper on fire and released anything ‘heavy’ they had been holding onto.

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“It honestly felt really good just knowing that I can let go of something that’s been in my brain for a while, it’s just really relieving,” said Guttormson.

The principal of Bishop James Mahoney High School says she and her student support team came up with this idea after brainstorming how they’re going to acknowledge Pink Shirt Day.

“Some ideas were thrown around but this is where we arrived, letting go of the negative things that our students carry with them and then also reframing to focus on the positive things they can do to make someone else’s day a little bit brighter,” says Mrs. Weiman.

Mrs. Weiman believes the students benefited from the activities.

“I think the students are enjoying the symbolic releasing of those negative things and we have so many balloons that students filled out this morning. It’s really nice to see all the different ways that students thought of making someone’s day a little brighter, what they could do to make a difference,” said Weiman.

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Why more than half of Canadian students are witness to racialized bullying – Oct 23, 2021

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