Last Friday, all the local schools participated in Pink Shirt Day—a day devoted to getting rid of bullying in schools, workplaces and communities. The day started in Canada in 2007 after a boy was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Other students at the school began wearing pink shirts in an act of compassionate defiance against homophobic bullying and the movement caught on. The event in New Zealand is supported by the Mental Health Foundation; events such as pink mufti days in schools are organised to raise money for the Foundation.
Student representatives of Central Otago anti-bullying organisation Sticks ‘n’ Stones helped to organise the event at Mount Aspiring College. On top of the pink mufti day, students were given ‘kindness cards’ to give to their peers to spread a message of acceptance. In the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks, this message of acceptance is becoming even more prevalent in our communities. Sticks ‘n’ Stones student representative Evie Simonsohn (15) said that, “Pink Shirt Day is a day of acceptance and spreads the idea that everyone deserves to love and be loved and who you are shouldn’t affect this, I guess that in itself helps our society to grow.”
All proceeds raised from the day will go directly to the Mental Health Foundation, who will be using these donations to deliver workshops to youth and teachers around the country based on saying ‘no’ to bullying.
Wanaka Primary School raised a total of $560.00, whilst Holy Family Catholic School raised $265. Mount Aspiring College and Hawea Flat Primary also collected significant amounts.