Anti-Bullying / Pink Shirt Day

The month of February is marked by LOVE with the celebration of Valentine’s Day across the world and in Alberta- Family day. We want to highlight a different type of “love” that is also equally as important- love of their neighbor/stranger.  In the last few decades, our society has become more aware of the impact of bullying, so to promote the anti-bullying campaign, many schools marked this day by having a Pink shirt day.  

Let’s dive into what does bullying entails. It isn’t uncommon to hear someone say something insensitive or mean to another person. Although we know these comments or actions are not okay, bullying has some specific features that make it much more serious and harmful. 

These features are;

  •  Bullying is deliberate and the intent is to harm the other person 
  •  Bullying involves the misuse of one’s power  
  •  Bullying is usually not a one-off occurrence; it is potentially a repeated behavior over time 
  •  Bullying involves behaving in a harmful way which is not a normal part of growing up (Ministry of Education, n.d.) 

Bullying can occur in many environments whether it is at school, home, workplace or social gatherings. Cyberbullying is a term used when bullying happens online, at home is siblings bullying, and at work known as workplace bullying. It can be in the form of verbal, social, physical, and psychological. According to Stop A Bully (2014) stats notes that over 63% of bullying is in the form of name-calling and insults, next is shoving and hitting at 40%, and cyberbullying was at 30% which may have been on the rise in recent years. 

This year anti-bullying falls on Wednesday, February 23,2022. Why is it important to remember this date, what’s the story, and what does it mean to commemorate this day? Anti-bullying aka pink shirt day was originated in Canada, in response to 10 students being bullied for wearing pink. The next day, these 10 students and their friends came to school wearing pink shirts standing in solidarity. Hence wearing pink on the 23rd of Feb signifies standing up for others and making a difference together. 

Yes, it takes courage to stand up for yourself and for others. Courage is like a muscle when exercised, it grows bigger. Bullies are often looking for a reaction and when they do not get it, they lose interest. Some of the ways to deal with a bully are;

How to handle a bully if you feel safe? 

  • Walk away and imagine you are in your favorite place
  • Count to 100 in your head and keep walking
  • Look at them in the eye, laugh, and walk away 

 If you wish to say something back while walking away, you could say;

  • STOP loudly and walk away without turning around
  • Enough! Do you feel better now?
  • Why are you talking to me? Clearly, I am more interesting then!

Remember no reaction so no conversation either! Keep on walking away…. 

So why walk away? 

Well, it takes the bully’s power away! While keeping your power within and some of the best ways to maintain your internal power is to;

  • Remind or list your positive traits
  • Imagine that you are surrounded by a shielding force that bounces any negative things off 
  • Build your confidence by learning something new or doing something you love
  • Avoid places you know the bully hang out
  • Create friendships

If the bullying persists then it might be time to seek help by talking to an adult at school and or at home. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect!