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Students combat bullying at 13th-annual Pink Shirt Day

Students throughout the province are gathering together to share stories of positivity and kindness, and to say no to bullying.

The theme of this year’s Pink Shirt Day is “Lift each other up.” Government has proclaimed Feb. 26, 2020, as Diversity and Acceptance Day, highlighting B.C.’s commitment to ensuring a safe and inclusive province.

Attendees at the Pink Shirt Day event in Victoria were encouraged to spread kindness to speak out against bullying, using these hashtags: #LiftEachOtherUp, #PinkShirtDay and #ERASEBullying

“I feel proud to stand together with B.C.’s courageous young people today, as we all work together to celebrate diversity and acceptance and say no to bullying,” said Premier John Horgan. “Bullying in all forms is unacceptable, whether it’s online or face to face. We need strong communities within our schools where no student feels alone. By working together to protect and support each other with kindness, tolerance and acceptance, we’re building a safer B.C. for everyone.”

Premier Horgan and Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, and MLAs were joined at the Parliament Buildings by Tru Wilson, transgender advocate; Carol Todd, parent and founder of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society; Travis Price, co-founder of Pink Shirt Day; and local students.

“We all have a role to play in making sure students feel safe in the classroom, at home and online. If we work together, we can help students feel safe and encourage respectful behaviour toward others,” said Fleming. “The Erase program is continuing to provide our students with additional tools and resources to support their well-being and make a huge difference in our schools and communities.”

The Erase strategy continues to grow as a comprehensive resource to better represent the issues facing youth and their communities today. Priority areas include a focus on social media and online safety, mental health and wellness, substance use, gang prevention and supporting students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Many new resources are available for students, parents, educators and community partners in B.C. schools this year as part of an over $5.4-million investment in Erase, including:

  • a $2-million provincewide investment in school-based student mental health to help ensure kids can access support when they need it, and so they feel safe and connected at school;
  • $50,000 for social media and online safety education sessions for B.C. students and parents throughout the province. These sessions are an extension of the sessions offered over the last two years;
  • a new video series, Raising Digitally Responsible Youth, was created in partnership with the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, to help parents and caregivers understand and teach kids how to safely navigate online and protect their digital reputation at the same time;
  • a new Community Violence Threat Risk Assessment Protocol Guide to foster cross-sector partnerships to keep school communities safe and provide wraparound supports to students in need; and
  • new trauma-informed practice resources for educators to develop compassion to help children, youth and adults, especially those who have experienced traumatic events and early hardships.

Quotes:

Tru Wilson, 16-year-old trans advocate –

“I am so happy to be a part of Pink Shirt Day again and to celebrate how this day has evolved. Today is not just about standing up against fear and hate, it’s about celebrating each and every one of us who is different. Today is a day for all of us to stand together and truly lift each other up!”

Carol Todd, parent and founder, Amanda Todd Legacy Society –

“Together, we must actively work to ‘Lift Each Other Up’ in times when it is needed the most. Positive actions are needed in creating a society of respect and understanding. Pink Shirt Day allows us to make these changes for good by asking, ‘Who can I lift up to make a better tomorrow?’ and knowing that this is helping someone. For today and all the other days that follow, creating positive actions that make a difference is what is important and what is needed.”

Travis Price, founder, Pink Shirt Day –

“I am so excited to once again be part of British Columbia’s Pink Day. Through the years, I have been part of these incredible events. It inspires and motivates me to see the excitement this day brings to so many on the West Coast. Pink Day’s growth is a perfect example of the incredible things we can accomplish when we work together to tackle issues that we are all affected by.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Adolescent Health Survey, 2018, shows:
    • 14% of B.C students had been cyberbullied (including 23% of non-binary youth) in 2018.
    • 54% of B.C.’s gay and lesbian high school students report experiencing discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
  • Bullying/cyberbullying is the top issue reported via the Erase online reporting tool in 2019-20 – 30% of reports.
  • This year’s Pink Shirt Day Tour with Travis Price is partially supported by the TLC Fund for Kids and the WITS Programs Foundation, a non-profit that provides bullying prevention programs.
  • New trauma-informed practice resources are available to help educators with a compassionate lens of understanding that is helpful to all children, youth and adults, especially those who have experienced traumatic events and early hardships.

Learn More:

News release, Nov. 20, 2019: Students supported with better access to more mental health programs:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019EDUC0120-002231

Raising Digitally Responsible Youth:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/erase/online-safety

Community Violence Threat Risk Assessment Protocol Guide:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/erase/documents/vtra_protocolguide.pdf

New Trauma-Informed Practice resources for educators:
https://mytrainingbc.ca/traumainformedpractice/


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