Pink Shirt Day will have its own spin at Princess Margaret according to vice principal Sandra Richardson.
“We’ve really tried to not focus so much on anti-bullying, but more of the kindness aspect, flipping things on its head so people are less likely to check out,” Richardson said.
“One of the things my leadership kids and I talked about is that when you say ‘anti-bullying’ those people who don’t perceive themselves as bullies don’t perceive it as their problem,” Richardson continued. “But if you say we need to reach out and be kinder to other people, that’s everyone.”
Mental wellness has been a focus at Princess Margaret this month with comedian and mental health advocate Kevin Breel visiting students on Feb. 17.
Next week the focus is shifting to reaching out, speaking up and being kind to others.
Each day throughout next week will involve different activities at the school involving that message including Pink Shirt Day, the weekly free breakfast for students will feature pink pancakes and students will be creating posters for an awareness campaign during the week as well.
“Each day we’re doing a different kind of thing just to keep up the conversation that we’ve already started about speaking up, reaching out to others who may be struggling and being kind to those people, to everybody,” Richardson said.
“It is not a one-day thing here,” Richardson said. “We’re trying to make it more of an attitude about being kinder to other people.”
The Penticton Vees are doing their part when they hit the ice in BCHL action against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Feb. 21 sporting pink jerseys. It’s part of their third annual Anti-Bullying/School Challenge night by Sendero Canyon.
“They are interesting. It’s going to be a bright game for us,” joked Vees co-captain Cody DePourcq. “We’re going to be able to tell who is who for sure.”
Patrick Sexton, the Vees other co-captain said, “Real men wear pink.”
“They are bright that’s for sure. There’s no tie downs, so hopefully nothing gets too chippy,” Sexton joked. “It will be a good cause, it will be fun.”
Growing up in Ottawa, Sexton had some experience with bullying.
“I had a buddy who got bullied and luckily I was there to help stick up for him,” said Sexton. “He learned right away how to stick up for himself. It’s sad to see, especially when taking it to another level, you see kids that get depressed. You never want to see that. As a kid you are supposed to be happy and full of life.”
“Bullying is huge, it happens all over school,” said DePourcq.
He added that being part of a team and in a locker room, they joke around and crack jokes at each other, but they care about each other. They have the mentality to stand up for each other and do the same against bullying.
For more on Anti-Bullying awareness, visit www.pinkshirtday.ca.
-With files from Dale Boyd