Main Street turned into a wave of pink May 2, as students and community business’ joined in the fight to stop bullying.
This marked the second annual Pink Shirt Day for Carlyle and showed proof of growth since last year’s event.
The event began to spread its message in Nova Scotia, when two students in 2007 intervened to assist a new grade nine male student who was being bullied for wearing pink. They wore pink in solidarity, and within a few days convinced the whole school to join in. The bullies are said to have never been heard from again.
Hundreds of Carlyle students and staff took a stand against bullying by sporting their “one colour, one purpose, one community” shirts, which were primarily sponsored by one local businessman.
Carlyle Elementary school hosted two assemblies for their students and those attending Gordon F Kells. Together they welcomed a very special guest, Chris Getzlaf from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Organizers of the event, Bryce Birch and Jeff Laforet began planning this year’s event right after last year’s success. And will indeed be planning a third, bigger event for next year.
“We had overwhelming support from the community this year. Everyone on Main Street decorated, and we had a large donation of 2,000 dollars from a local businessman.
This donation helped pay for the majority of our 700 shirts,” said Laforet. “So the 10 dollars we received from each student can go towards having a huge speaker next year.”
The day began with an assembly for the K- 4s. The gym filled with the young children sporting their pink shirts, along with pink hair, socks, faces and accessories. Chris Getzlaf, who is trained by the Red Cross’ Respect Ed program, spoke with the children about the three people involved in bullying. Chris explained that bullying involved more than just a bully and a victim, but also a bystander.
To aid the younger children in understanding this, Getzlaf had a grade four student read a book called “Say Something”. The picture book was the story of a young girl who discovers that people who stand around and don’t do anything about bullying are almost as bad as the actual bully. By the end of the book the young girl learns to befriend a student who has been alone the whole school year.
“Befriend someone who is being bullied,” suggested Getzlaf. “Bullying normally only happens on a single basis, not a group. So just take the victim out of the situation and go play with them somewhere else.”
Getzlaf then answered a few questions about bullying before answering the excited students personal questions. Each junior class got to take a group photo with the football star.
Following this was an assembly for the elementary seniors and the high school participants. This agenda included a small explanation of the Red Cross, and of course bullying including harassment and rights and responsibilities. Many news clips were shown.
The day continued with a hot dog lunch for the students, staff and special guests. Hot dogs on pink hot dog buns, pink cookies and juice boxes. The older students were each given a younger lunch buddy. These buddies lasted the remainder of the day.
A wide variety of buddy activities followed the lunch, and all included some team building. The gym was filled with children waiting their turn to play a game of craters and volcanoes, as students outdoors discovered bubbles, chalk and touch football.
The big finale of the event was the creation of the “Chain for Change”. Last year the chain consisted of the two schools creating a human chain creating a safe pathway between the two schools. This year the chain took it a step further. With the help of RCMP directing traffic, students and buddies from both schools walked up to Main Street. When they arrived, the students urged the employees of local business to join them in creating a large U and occupying the whole street. This was done to show that the community as a whole would not accept bullying.
After the event the senior buddies walked their elementary buddies back to the school, and everyone was asked to attend their afternoon classes.