For Nicole Daniels, Pink Shirt Day is about being excited to come to Langley Secondary School every morning.
“I’ve had so many experiences with bullying where (I didn’t) want to go to school,” said the Grade 12 student, who is part of LSS’s Leadership group that spearheads events in the school and surrounding community.
“Since Grade 9 I’ve actually wanted to come to school because I don’t have to worry about being picked on and having anything unkind said to me.”
Pink Shirt Day celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday.
The nation-wide day aims to raise awareness of issues surrounding bullying, as well as raise funds to support programs that foster children’s healthy self-esteem.
The day was born in 2007 in Nova Scotia, led by then high school students David Shepherd and Travis Price.
When a fellow student was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt, the two decided to take a stand. Shepherd and Price purchased pink tank tops from a discount store, to give to fellow students an opportunity to show their support for a boy who was being bullied simply for wearing a pink shirt.
— Pink Shirt Day (@pinkshirtday) February 28, 2018
A decade later, LSS Grade 12 and Leadership Group member Jenn Hyslop said her school has a culture that promotes inclusiveness and kindness.
“We try to uplift each other in the halls by smiling and saying hello and holding the doors,” Hyslop said. “We’ve been working so hard over the past 10 years to uplift our school’s reputation and make it a second home.”
Since Shepherd and Price made their stand a decade ago, the face of bullying has changed.
With the rise of social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, and through texting and emails, cyberbullying has become much more prevalent.
Hyslop says in her experience, the teens she knows are becoming more sensitive to what they post.
“I feel that a lot of people have kind of taken that step back to what they’re posting online,” she said.
“We’re so aware of what we’re doing now,” Daniels offered.
Hyslop said the focus of Pink Shirt Day is to “celebrate positivity.”
Langley School District communications manager Ken Hof said that while the the pink shirt movement is most active at LSS, DW Poppy Secondary and Shortreed Community Elementary, “all district schools are very involved in ‘Respect and Diversity Week’ activities.”
— BCRCMP (@BCRCMP) February 28, 2018