Today is Pink Shirt Day in B.C. and other parts of Canada an annual anti-bullying event that raises awareness of the need for action against bullying.
The message of this event is that bullying hurts. It isn’t just a rite of passage and it doesn’t have to happen.
According to www.bullyingcanada.ca, as many as 25 per cent of children in Grades 4-6 have been bullied and approximately one in 10 children have bullied others. A 2004 study published in the Medical Journal of Pediatrics found that about one in seven Canadian children aged 11 to 16 are victims of bullying. It is important to recognize what bullying is and that it happens in many forms – verbally, socially, physically and one (cyber bullying).
Wearing pink on Pink Shirt Day shows people are making the commitment to not let bullying happen. B.C. has seen its share of bullying tragedy. Fourteen-year-old Hamed Nastoh of Surrey jumped off the Patullo Bridge and killed himself leaving a note behind blaming constant bullying he endured at school. Another fourteen-year-old , Dawn-Marie Wesley of Mission committed suicide by hanging herself after relentless bullying.
The province has taken steps to address bullying in recent years, including a Ministry of Education resource brochure for parents in 14 languages that can be found online at www.bced.gov.bc.ca/sco.
Key elements of preventing bullying include fostering self-esteem, social engagement, academic success, inclusion, acceptance, respect for self and others and connection to community. Let’s see what we can do to eradicate this problem.