On Monday a note came home from school, on hot pink paper. It said that April 13 would be Pink Shirt Day, and that all students and staff were encouraged to wear something pink (hat, scarf, shirt, whatever) to mark the day and help raise awareness of the problem of bullying. Sounds like a good cause to me. I asked Little Boo if he wanted to wear pink, and he said yes. Problem was he doesn't have any pink tops, so off to the store I went.
Thank God for Old Navy.
(He did point out that they didn't have to wear pink if they didn't own anything, which I'm glad the teacher said. But we are lucky enough to be able to make a spontaneous purchase, so I did. Actually, I got two shirts, cuz they were $10.50 each or 2 for $16. I'm a sucker.)
He was delighted!
On his way to school today
I hadn't heard anything about this day prior to the hot pink note. So I googled this morning and found DayofPink.org. According to the website,
"DayofPink is the International Day against Bullying, Discrimination and Homophobia in schools and communities. We invite everyone to celebrate diversity by wearing a pink shirt and by organizing activities in their workplaces, organizations, communities and schools."
According to the website of our local school board, Pink Day began after two Nova Scotia high school students rallied their friends to wear pink in support of a younger student who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school in 2007. The movement has grown, spreading to schools across Canada.
The focus of the day is on tolerance and against discrimination and bullying in all its forms. I think that's great. I don't think that the mere act of wearing pink will magically change the world, but I do hope it will start some conversations. And I especially hope that Pink Day and activities surrounding it will help kids to see that they are not alone and will empower them to speak up if they are bullied or see bullying occurring.
I was a little worried about what might happen on the playground today. If the actual bullies might have something to say to the kids (boys) wearing pink. But apparently I was just being an overprotective worrywart (again). I asked Little Boo tonight how the day went. He had a very positive take. Lots of his friends and teachers wore pink and there was lots of talk about respect and tolerance of differences. They had an assembly this afternoon where they learned more about bullying and how to make a difference. The details coming back from a 5 year-old are always a little sketchy, but it sounds like there were some personal experiences shared, especially about friends sticking together and standing up to a bully in a non-violent way.
I asked him if he thought there were any bullies at his school, and he said that there used to be a couple of the big boys, but they're not bullies anymore. "Mr. G can handle them pretty well." So, I guess there was good observation and intervention and that was nipped in the bud. (Go, Mr. G!) I hope he's right.
When I asked him this morning why he was wearing pink, he answered, "Because bullying is wrong."
For the record, I wore pink today too ... probably a bigger stretch for me than for the 5 year old ...