Pink shirt flashmob storms Cherry Lane

Students dressed in pink flooded into Cherry Lane shopping centre on Wednesday morning to take a stand against bullying.

"Dork, weird, nerd, spoiled and odd. At some point in life we have all felt the pain caused by social bullying," said Skaha Lake Middle School student Harnish Bhandhal.

A sea of pink shirts stretched from one end of Cherry Lane to the other as SLMS students performed dance moves in a flashmob that started at 11:30 a.m. The students have been perfecting their moves since the fall in anticipation of Feb. 29, national anti-bullying day, or what has also been called Pink Shirt Day.

"I know that bullying hurts a lot and almost everyone has been bullied. I have been bullied quite a bit myself, so I really feel strong about ending it," said Bhandhal. "People are losing their friends and family because what is going on right now. It's horrible and we want to end it so nobody is feeling like a social outcast or feeling down. Everyone should feel confident and strong about themselves."

The students told the story of Nova Scotians David Shepherd and Travis Price. In 2007, the duo along with teenage friends organized a protest by wearing pink shirts to stand united for a fellow classmate who was being bullied for wearing a pink polo shirt at school. The two students bought 50 pink shirts and tank tops and sent out messages to other students to join them at school wearing pink. Over 300 showed up.

Louise Ganton, a counsellor at SLMS, said the idea for the flashmob was created last year when thinking of ways the school could bring awareness to bullying and Pink Shirt Day.

"Knowing the students, I think a lot of them feel that this is a really important topic so I think that is something they really get behind because they have all experienced bullying," said Ganton. "It gives them an opportunity to all come together because they all have to work together to make this happen and that was something that was really important. I'm really proud of our students and I think they really had fun and learned a lot."

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