Stop Bullying

Day of Pink is a day of action that took place this year on April 10. It was created when a youth in a high school in Cambridge, Nova Scotia was bullied because he wore a pink shirt to school. His fellow peers decided to stand up to this bullying, and hundreds of students showed support for diversity and stopping discrimination, gender-bullying and homophobia, by wearing pink. Bullying has an impact on the mental health of our youth and a topic current in the media. Bullying is always intentional and mean-spirited, it rarely happens only once, and the victim cannot hold his own. It is not teasing. If this has happened to your child, they are not alone. One American study suggests one in seven school children is either a bully or a victim. It is starting at younger ages and far more aggressive and frequent than ever before.

Bullying is learned and it is also preventable. We wait too long to teach our children skills to assist them to be less likely a target. My five-year-old grandson Honour’s junior kindergarten teacher talked about the boy who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt, and asked her students to wear something pink the next day to support his choices and stand up to stop bullying. At some point there must have also been a discussion about the colour pink representing the fight against breast cancer because the same day Honour came home and said to his mother, “I have to wear pink tomorrow, mommy, to stop bullying and help the doctors find a cure for breast cancer.

His father took him shopping and gave him the choice of what he would like to wear in pink. Honour chose a pink track suit and proudly wore it to school the next day.

Mrs. Crossley, a retired teacher of the Seventh Street Junior School, was aware that the best students in mathematics, reading, etc., always get recognition. Mrs. Crossley, who taught in Toronto for 39 years, passed away in 2006 at the age of 96. Until the end of her life, she always took great interest in Seventh Street Junior School and its exceptional students. She wanted to know if there was some way to encourage those children for whom public recognition might provide the boost to self esteem that could make a significant difference in their education. The staff of the school developed a student of the month award program to highlight those children who had made a significant improvement in personal growth, work habits or some other area not usually formally recognized. The teachers are very grateful that her legacy lives on to this day.

The award is called the CrossleyColeman Student Award. My grandson, Honour Short; received this award for the month of March. Here is what his teacher, Mrs. Bacon; wrote on his award, “This student is always caring and kind to everyone in the class. He is quick to help others in need, warmly includes others to play with him and is sensitive to his friends’ feelings. He proudly wore pink from head to toe on anti-bullying day, really taking the day to heart! Congratulations to Honour Short!” Honour; at the tender age of five is already making a difference in his world. Positive reinforcement early in a child’s life empowers them to fight against things such as bullying. I am thankful my daughter and her husband are raising their son with the options of making positive choices, the freedom to be his own person, and nurturing his sensitive caring being. This will indeed have a ripple effect that will benefit everyone in his sphere of influence.