Pink Shirt Day has become an annual tradition to raise awareness about bullying and spread messages of anti-bullying and support throughout the community. While it's usually on the last Wednesday of February, several schools like Crowther Memorial Junior High School (CMJHS), Westmount School, Sacred Heart Academy, and more are instead honouring Pink Shirt day today since students won't be in school on Wednesday, February 22.

CMJHS teacher and teacher for the student leadership group Lindsay Walker says Pink Shirt Day is important because it helps bullying victims know they aren't alone, as well as creates a positive culture around standing up for each other to stop bullying.

"Pink Shirt Day is important because 1/5 of students report experiencing bullying, but I do think that number is underrepresented because lots of students have had difficulties with bullying throughout their lives, and we can especially see that at the junior high level," she said.

Walker added that sometimes bullying from the bully's perspective may not even seem like a big deal, so Pink Shirt Day also helps potential bullies be more aware of the actions and the potential impact they can have. For example, what one student may consider being a harmless joke may actually have a big impact on the person on the other side of it.

"It's really up to the victim to decide if that joke was funny or if those words were more than that. So I think that people can just kind of brush it off as a joke, but your words still matter and you should still consider kindness when choosing to speak."

With the main goal being awareness, Walker says having more students aware of the issue can go a long way towards lowering bullying.

"I hope that by raising awareness about bullying that students will realize how many people have been affected by bullying and they maybe have those experiences themselves, and then they'll develop some empathy and think twice before bullying again when they know how impactful it can be." 

Other schools will honour Pink Shirt Day after the students return from next week's break Wheatland School will have theirs on February 27, while Trinity Christian Academy will do theirs on March 3.

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