By Emily Jaycox For the Independent
Schools in Clearview school district and across Canada celebrated Pink Shirt Day Wednesday, Feb. 27, holding assemblies and other activities to show they “choose kindness.”
“It went really, really well,” said Sharon Fischer, principal of Stettler Elementary School (SES).
About 90 per cent of the staff and students participated by wearing pink, according to Fischer.
Penny Warford, mental health program coordinator for Children and Adolescents Being Resilient and Self-Regulating (CARS), ran school-wide activities with the students.
Students in Grades 3 to 6 made a kindness wall displaying post-it notes with messages about how to show kindness, and the younger grades made pink paper shirts with similar messages.
“It was certainly a lot of pink and a lot of messages posted around the school,” said Warford.
CARS is also holding a free showing of Wonder March 7 at the Jewel Theatre at 1 p.m.
“The goal of the day was to raise awareness around the issue of bullying,” said Peter Barron, superintendent of Clearview Public Schools.
Pink Shirt Day and choosing kindness is about focusing on proactive, positive behaviours as well an anti-bullying, says Barron.
Pink Shirt Day promotes the idea that it is okay to be different, and we need to be accepting of differences, he says.
“If you’re being kind, you’re obviously not bullying.”
Barron defines bullying as repeated aggression towards someone and that usually includes an imbalance of power.
Bullying can include taunting, name-calling, labelling or unwelcomed teasing that is repeated overtime, and can also include exclusion, says Barron.
The highest severity of bullying would be physical threats or intimidation.
“All types are inappropriate.”
Causing physical harm is assault, and menacing a person, such as following them to the point they believe they may be harmed, is also assault, even without physical contact, says Barron.
When police deal with assault, it’s how the victim felt that is important, not the intent of the perpetrator, he says.
If a student feels uncomfortable, the first thing they should do is tell an adult, says Baron.
“We want adults to intervene.”
Although Barron says bullying isn’t a prevalent issue in Clearview Schools, it is one they take very seriously.
The board has a policy about being welcoming and caring (Policy No. 22) and each school in the district also has its own code of conduct it enforces.
The schools in the district strive to prevent bullying on a daily basis, says Barron.
SES for example, promotes positive behaviour through its “Leader in Me” program, which teaches to first seek to understand, before being understood.