Students and staff at Chilliwack schools are getting ready to "make some noise against bullying."
That's the theme of this year's Pink Shirt Day Feb. 27.
Started by two Nova Scotia teens who gave out pink shirts at their school to support a fellow student who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt, Pink Shirt Day has grown into an annual event to raise awareness about bullying.
"It's a reminder for all of us to treat each other with respect," said McCammon elementary principal Terry Bateman, whose school will set up a gallery of anti-bullying posters on the day.
At Little Mountain elementary, students and staff have dedicated a whole month to anti-bullying activities, culminating in an assembly with songs, skits and speakers Wednesday.
"It's culture building," said principal Steve Klassen. "If we don't talk about it, it takes on a life of its own. If you put a spotlight on it, then you can deal with it better."
TIPS FOR TALKING TO SCHOOLS
If your child is being bullied at school, or has been reported as bullying others, you need to connect with the school and work with them to intervene. Here are some steps to consider:
- Identify the nature of the incident with your child and openly discuss it with them so you fully understand what has been happening and where, and who has been involved. Write down what happened and how your child felt.
- Set up a meeting with your child's teacher, principal or school counsellor and give them the details.
- Ask them what their policies are for dealing with bullying and inappropriate behaviour and find out how they are going to address the incident and when.
Some questions to ask:
. How can we work together to stop my child from being bullied?
. What steps will you take to investigate the bullying?
. What type of disciplinary action would you consider appropriate?
. What can I expect in terms of follow up and resolution? . What policies do you have in place that support children like mine, and discourage bullying and other violent behaviour?
- Allow the school to investigate the incident and notify the parents of the students involved, if this hasn't already been done. The school will determine appropriate disciplinary action, if required, and will come up with an intervention plan.
- If you don't feel the school is taking your report of bullying seriously, you can report it to school district staff (e.g. safe school co-ordinators, superintendents) or board of education.
- For more information about Pink Shirt Day, visit www.pinkshirtday.ca.