Bullying- do you remember it when you were a kid? You may not have been bullied, you may have just been an innocent bystander- or you may have even BEEN the bully- but I think we all remember knowing about it. I moved around a lot. At every single school or base (thirteen in different states and countries) I can remember at least one- if not more- kid who was "always" picked on. That shows that it has been a pervasive phenomenon for over thirty years. This most recent generation has definitely stepped it up. Beginning with the Columbine tragedy in 1999- the topic of bullying has been very in your face and yet it continues to get worse. No longer satisfied with verbal taunts and physical abuse- bullies have taken their crimes online, creating a far-reaching and everlasting legacy. The most recent story, that of Phoebe Prince, a 15 year old Irish immigrant to South Hadley, Massachusetts who was targeted by 9 girls (and boys) so relentlessly that she committed suicide, has opened the floodgates for stories of being bullied around the world.
They say that out of the ashes rises a Phoenix. Our Phoenix on this story is in the form of two high school seniors; David Shepherd and Travis Price, from Nova Scotia. After seeing a freshman being bullied on the first day of school for wearing a pink polo shirt, David and Travis mobilized. Rather than merely confront the bullies, the boys went to a local discount store and bought 50 pink shirts and then used the internet to gather support from their friends and classmates. The story found here goes on to say that the next day David and Travis handed out their shirts and hundreds of other classmates came wearing their own until there was a "Sea of Pink" sending an effective message to the bullies. It seems the bullies have received the message loud and clear. This positive story was picked up by Ellen Degeneres who discussed it on her show and from there it has grown.
Today (April 14th) is Pink Shirt Day. In many schools in the US and Canada students, teachers and others will be wearing Pink (not limited to shirts) in solidarity of the Anti-Bullying message. Of course- it was posted on facebook where the word spread like wildfire. Two boys decided to take a quiet stand and their message was heard loud and clear. How powerful is that? I will be wearing a pink shirt today- will you?