Wednesday, Feb. 26 is Pink Shirt Day, or Anti Bullying Day where schools across the nation come together to stop bulling.
Ladysmith Senior Secondary is recognizing Pink Shirt Day with a number of initiatives. Student council will have a mini-lesson on bullying that teachers can share with classes.
Paper pink shirt cut-outs will be distributed to classes, and students can write positive affirmations, or ways they can contribute to a safe and caring school. Those messages will be collected and displayed as part of a photo booth where students can take photos and use the hashtag: #LiftEachOtherUp. Coast Capital Credit Union will donate $1 for each hashtag used on Feb. 26.
A group of LSS students will also be making a short video asking five LSS staff members five questions: what was school like for you growing up? Who was an important person in your life? What’s a challenge you’re proud of yourself for overcoming? What would you say to your student self if you could? What would you say to a student today?
Each project is aimed at this year’s Pink Shirt Day theme, ‘lift each other up’.
LSS principal Dave Travers said that LSS has three main criteria for what constitutes bullying: power imbalances by age, by a group towards one individual, or cognitive imbalances.
“We really need to understand what bullying is, and separate it from peer-to-peer interaction. Students have disagreements, but that’s not bullying. Bullying is when there is an imbalance of power,” Travers said. “When we have those situations, we would consider that to be a bullying case.”
When LSS students are found to have bullied other students, the focus is placed on understanding how their actions have impacted the other person.
“We have three words in mind: we’re educative, we’re preventative, and we’re restorative,” Travers said. “I had a situation when I first came here where it was a group against one individual. I sat down with the group – not with the individual – we went around and asked questions like ‘what was my part in this?’, ‘who have you affected?’, and ‘what needs to be done to make this right?’ Those are our three questions we use as pillars around here.”
Travers also asked the students to look at the situation from the individual student’s perspective, and asked the group if they wanted to be in that situation.
“It went very well, and we were able to solve that one,” Travers said.
Travers said over 50 percent of negative interactions he sees take place on social media. Even in those cases, LSS uses the same strategies to reform bullies.
For more information on Pink Shirt Day national initiatives visit: pinkshirtday.ca