Schools in Surrey are taking Pink Shirt Day back to its origins as they observe the anti-bullying day this year – by tackling homophobia and transphobia in schools.
Marked on the last Wednesday of February, Pink Shirt Day started in 2007 when a Grade 9 male student in Nova Scotia was taunted with homophobic slurs for wearing a pink shirt to school. The next day, a group of students who saw the teenager being bullied showed up to school wearing pink shirts, while also handing some out to other classmates.
“We want to break up the gender stereotypes of people falling into certain categories with how they look, act, speak, dress, and the associations that we make with sexual orientation related to that,” Nicole Curtis, inclusive practices helping teacher at the Surrey School District, stated in a release.
“We’re really working with teachers and school staff to bring about that awareness for our schools and addressing what it looks like or sounds like when there is homophobic or transphobic bullying, and how to respond to it.”
One in five kids are affected by bullying, according to data by the official Pink Shirt Day website.
Everyday should be a Pink Shirt day. A kid told me they could not afford to buy a Pink shirt and I made sure to say your actions speak louder than just wearing a Pink shirt. Let’s go beyond performative and go deeper in choosing kind. #sd36learn #pinkshirtday2023 https://t.co/eDDirl7izL
— Preet K Bains ਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਕੌਰ (she/her) (@PreetBains07) February 22, 2023
SOGI resources are available at Surrey schools to ensure that all students feel safe, supported and accepted in their schools,
Happy #pinkshirtday Acknowledging #pinkshirtday2023 with a school wide mural of #pinkshirts 💗 #BeKind 1 in 5 students report being bullied. Show kindness and speak out #kindnessmatters #sd36learn #sd36tl pic.twitter.com/dcKUhBtQMi
— M.Bains (@MrsMBains) February 22, 2023
“There are still those assumptions that underlie our beliefs and biases that we’re living with and not always aware of, and we want to unpack those in different ways at different levels,” Curtis said.
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