Sunday, 22 February 2015

Pink Shirt Day - Creating Safer Schools

Wednesday, February 25 marks Pink Shirt Day. That day everyone is encouraged to wear something pink to show community awareness, and to demonstrate a willingness to work together to prevent bullying in our schools, in our communities and online. Pink Shirt Day evolved out of the efforts of two Nova Scotia high school students, who decided to take a stand against bullying in their own school. Noticing that a grade 9 boy at their school was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt, they organized a school wide campaign to have everyone wear pink in support of ensuring that everyone felt safe and supported at their school.

ERASE Bullying is a BC Ministry of Education initiative that endorses Pink Shirt Day and strives to provide students and parents with information and resources to ensure safer schools for everyone.  As stated at the ERASE website,"There needs to be an integrated approach to prevent, address and/or reduce bullying, by developing the right partnerships with schools, parents, community and police.
Students who feel safe and are free to develop in healthy ways are far less likely to be involved in inappropriate activities. Students who are learning and thriving take pride in themselves, their school, their accomplishments and the accomplishments of those they are connected to."

This week, schools across our district will be emphasizing awareness and action campaigns designed to make safer schools a year long reality, rather than just a one day event. Improved social responsibility has been one of our district's stated achievement contract goals for many years, and campaigns that heighten awareness help support our meeting this goal. This week students elementary students from Robert Ogilvie and Duncan Cran Elementary schools will be making presentations to Fort St John city council, and on Wednesday there will be assemblies and school activities at several schools to mark the day.

Keeping schools safe is everybody's responsibility. We all have a role to play in promoting positive mental health and wellness, in supporting students, exhibiting positive social behaviour and in preventing incidents like bullying. This Wednesday, and every day, help us help each other by emphasizing the message that there is no place for bullying at schools and by serving as positive role models at home, at school and in the community. Our district motto is "Together We Learn". Certainly, when it comes to ensuring safer schools, learning and acting together is the best way to go.

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