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Squamish students standing up to bullying

Brackendale Elementary embraces Pink Shirt (Day) month.

It is wall-to-wall anti-bullying at Brackendale Elementary. 

Wednesday, Feb. 24, marks Anti-Bullying Day 2021 in Canada and the Squamish school is already prepared.

Students created a wall mural for the school’s foyer with this year’s Pink Shirt Day theme of: “At BRE, We Lift Each Other Up” as the slogan.

The school’s principal, Karen Saenger, told The Chief the theme of the day is a month-long affair, throughout February.

“First, our teachers creatively weave the themes of kindness, friendship, empathy and caring into curricular learning all through the month,” she said in an email. 

“These themes and ideas also complement understanding connected to Black History Month and this year’s Pink Shirt Day theme,”  Saenger said.

On Twin Day, Feb. 12, students dressed in matching outfits to promote friendship, she said, and raised money for charity.

“This Spirit Day organized by student leadership has a secondary aim of raising money for the Rare Disease Foundation and the Ocean Cleanup Project," she said. 

Next, music teacher Julie Murakami is co-ordinating a video compilation for Pink Shirt Day. 

"This will be like a virtual assembly. She is teaching all classes 'body percussion — actions — to: Treat people with kindness by pop star, Harry Styles. She will film snips of all classes doing this body percussion and stitch these snips together in a montage with other videos and photos of students doing acts of kindness around the school,"  Saenger said.

"Each class will also have a cameo appearance to say hello to everyone at Brackendale in their own unique way. We will end the video with a mindfulness moment for the whole school to promote mental health and wellbeing."

The video will be posted to the school's website.

This year marks the 14th International Pink Shirt Day.

Pink Shirt Day started in 2007, when two Grade 12 students — David Shepherd and Travis Price of  Nova Scotia — saw a Grade 9 student getting bullied for wearing pink. They brought a bunch of pink shirts to school and distributed them to other willing boys who donned them for the day in solidarity. 

The story goes that the Grade 9 boy was not bullied again.

Price had himself been bullied years before to the point his parents sent him to therapy and he would avoid going to outside play with other kids.

“The one piece of advice I would give is that life is bigger than what they are seeing right now,” Price told Breakfast Television Vancouver in 2014.

“It is so hard to imagine what life is like outside high school and junior high, because that is your every day. When they go to university or whatever they are going to do, when they go on to the next stage in life, they are going to meet people just like them.” 

Price said he was a lonely gamer in grade school, but when he went to university, he met a large group of friends who were just like him. 

What are you doing for Pink Shirt Day? 

Let us know with a photo or letter to the editor by Monday at 4 p.m. Send it to editor@squamishchief.com.