Yesterday was National Pink Shirt Day and DVSS high school was ready and willing to participate in the fight against bullying.
Pink Shirt Day started to raise the awareness of bullying from all different aspects and types of bullying. DVSS had three 45-60 minute presentations that tackled bullying and it's long lasting effect on people. Included were anonymous student declarations of bullying, insightful videos including a very indepth, powerful and inspiring TEDx talk, and fellow students vowing to lend a hand to anyone being bullied.
Evelyn Stanger, Emma Spetz and Tessa Chomas were 3 of many students included in the FOR Club at DVSS that helped put on the presentations, along with teacher Jason Rasmussen.
Stanger explains why FOR Club came to be in DVSS, "FOR Club was created to commemorate one of the victims of the columbine shooting. Her name was Rachael Scott. F.O.R stands for 'Friends Of Rachael'. She was an activist against bullying and creating community within her school."
Stanger outlines, "Pink Shirt Day is really impactful for me. The first step is communicating the message before any other step can be taken in order to put an action plan together to stop bullying. The ability to connect with a victim, anyone that doesn't realize that being a bystander is part of the problem or even a bully, to correct their actions is the main reason for this awareness."
When I asked Emma Spetz what it was like to stand in front of a crowd and send this message out into the world, Spetz replied with, "It's empowering. You have the power to change someone's life. To put a spark in them, maybe they can stop one of their friends from being bullied. You're really planting a seed in one person and hoping that they will make a difference and continue to make a chain reaction."
Tessa Chomas, another student organizer part of FOR Club comments as to what she thinks are important messages to take from this presentation, "I was bullied. Over coming it is the hard part. Talking to the audience and letting them know that it will get better and it's okay. You will overcome this."
Jason Rasmussen, teacher at DVSS as well as fellow organizer of Pink Shirt Day at the school explains how this awareness campaign came to be, "It was started in Nova Scotia by a couple of high school kids who seen a junior being bullied because he was wearing a pink shirt at school. They went on social media and messaged a bunch of friends and asked everyone to wear pink shirts the next day to school. The next day, half of the school was wearing pink shirts and it sent a very powerful message. That was in 2007 and obviously it was powerful message because now it's a movement across North America."
Ramussen has a message for everyone of every age group, "The message that I would send out on this Pink Shirt Day, 2018 is not to the bullies, but to the witnesses. Let's stand up you guys. Let's say something because we know it's wrong and we know in our hearts that we should say something. Sometimes it's hard to do that, but let's find the strength to do it."