Lessons of Pink Shirt Day taught year-round in Prince Albert

Schools around Prince Albert will recognize Pink Shirt Day on Wednesday with events that teach lessons about bullying.

While Pink Shirt Day is devoted specifically to anti-bullying messages, Prince Albert Catholic School Division education director Lorel Trumier said they try to teach those lessons all year long.

“This is what I always say, ‘if you want to be valued, you also have to value others. If you want to be respected, you need to respect others,’” she said.

The division offers a year-round program called Beyond the Hurt where staff work on strategies to support students in developing positive social skills that prevent bullying. The program also includes a faith dimension.

Beyond the Hurt has a special assembly each month in schools, Trumier explained. The goal is to help students understand that relationships are reciprocal. If you want to be treated well, Trumier said, you should strive to treat others well too.

“We have lessons that occur in the classrooms that focus on all of these kinds of pro-social skills that children need and in hopes of reducing bullying and those kinds of behaviors, along with our faith dimension about valuing others,” Trumier said.

“Pink Shirt Day is a celebration of that kind of work and we honor the idea behind Pink Shirt Day. You can expect that our schools will be doing different activities in different classrooms and at different levels across our system.

“We actually build a program every year to support students with the skills they need, and so they never really leave it alone they have a Pink Shirt Day almost every month, so to speak, because they focus on this in an assembly and in their classrooms.”

Bishop Stephen Hero will be at Ecole Holy Cross for the Pink Shirt assembly on Pink Shirt Day at 9:30 a.m.

Schools in the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division will recognize Pink Shirt Day in their own way. In the past, Sask. Rivers has held division-wide design contests to commemorate the event.

Saskatchewan Rivers School Division superintendent of schools Garette Tebay said the goal is to help students understand that their actions can make a difference.

“It’s important that we recognize the fact that unfortunately bullying does exist within all schools and we take those movements to teach kids to be able to take a stand against bullying, what to do if you are a bystander and be able to stand up for each other and what’s right,” Tebay said.

“(Students) can affect change and they can stand up for each other and their friends, and they do have a voice.”

Pink Shirt Day is an annual event against bullying. Participants wear pink shirts and attend or host informative events to raise awareness about bullying, particularly in schools. Pink Shirt Day was started in 2007 in Canada, where it is held on the last Wednesday of February each year.

michael.oleksyn@paherald.sk.ca

Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald