February 22 is known as Pink Shirt day to stop bullying, and along with wearing the bright colour, many schools will have anti-bullying programs to teach acceptance.
According to the Pink Shirt Day website, the anti-bullying campaign first began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against bullying after a new student was harassed and threatened for wearing pink. The two students bought dozens of pink shirts were bought and distributed them to their classmates to wear the next day.
Since then, word of this stand against bullying spread across the world and it is now an annually celebrated initiative.
Executive Director of WITS Program Foundation, Andy Telfer excitedly shares that in honour of Pink Shirt Day, they will be broadcasting a live show across Canada to elementary schools where guest speakers Gurdeep Pandher and Peter H. Reynolds to talk about being kind, hear about various kindness projects and to play games with the chance to win.
Telfer says that throughout his years of working for the anti-bullying organization, he has seen a decline in physical bullying, however, with technology easily accessible to children, there has been an increase in cyberbullying.
"When it's electronic, the person can feel more alone, like they're being victimized, like they're being ganged up on, sometimes by more than one person. So, that's difficult for some people to handle," says Telfer.
What they do at WITS is teach kids strategies to manage conflict, and its name stands for: Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out, and Seek help.
Bullying isn't always picked up on, especially when children try to hide the fact that they are being harassed. Parents are encouraged to look for behaviour changes and to watch for moments when they are unusually quiet.
Telfer says one of the most important things a parent can do is keep an open line of communication between them and their kids so that when the child is ready, they will feel comfortable opening up about what is happening.
To learn more about Pink Shirt Day, visit the website.