On Wednesday, Feb. 22, various organizations in the Stettler community came together to raise anti-bullying awareness by wearing pink and celebrating Pink Shirt Day.
From the county staff to the various schools in the Clearview Public Schools to local businesses in the community wore pink.
Speaking about the importance of this campaign, County Reeve Wayne Nixon said, “Bullying can take many forms and can apply to all ages with devastating consequences but we all can help by reinforcing proper behaviour to our children, our grandchildren, our friends and our coworkers.”
According to Nixon, community members need to be examples through their own interaction with people.
“We need to promote self-esteem in our young people but also be there if they need help and we also need to recognize their cries for help,” Nixon added. “In my opinion if self-esteem is not instilled in children at a young age, they are more likely to be subject to bullying. We need to know that there are ways to ‘stick up’ for ourselves safely. Charity and self-respect should begin at home.”
Schools within the Clearview school division also participated in the campaign, donning pink.
Superintendent of Clearview Public Schools, Peter Barron said, “Words hurt; actions hurt. In Clearview, we are committed to the education and safety of children; we take bullying seriously.”
Barron added, “I would note, however, that sometimes the phrase ‘bullying’ is used inappropriately. Not every incident when a student is harmed by another constitutes bullying.”
According to Barron, bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power.
“So, typically, bullies are older and stronger, and in some cases, bullying takes the form of exclusion or inappropriate use of social media, occurring over a period of time; it is not a one-off situation,” Barron stated. “It’s important that students and parents keep school staff notified of incidents, so action may be taken.”
The Stettler Boys and Girls Club at Heartland Youth Centre (HYC) has been participating in Pink Shirt Day since 2009.
“Our Pink Shirt Day involves the four club programs – Zone, Spark, Torch and Keystone Club members who range in age from 9-18 years,” said Winnie Bissett, executive director of HYC. “Pink Shirt Day involves discussions, activities and presentations about bullying. We discuss what it is like to be bullied but we also discuss why a bully bullies, what might be going on in the bully’s life, what can one do if they are bullied, who and where can one reach out to for help.”
Bissett said that the HYC orders in the pink shirts approximately one month before Pink Shirt Day, so if community members would like to order a pink shirt from HYC they could do so in January.