Students stand up to bullying

Ladysmith, Chemainus and Penelakut Island students covered in pink spread the message “bullying stops here” during Pink Shirt Day Feb. 29.

Chemainus Secondary Students participate in a flash mob on Pink Shirt Day Feb. 29.

Chemainus Secondary Students participate in a flash mob on Pink Shirt Day Feb. 29.

Local students covered in pink spread the message that “bullying stops here” during Pink Shirt Day Feb. 29.

At Chemainus Secondary School, eleventh-grader Alyssia Rhode organized a flash mob at lunchtime.

Rhode said a few words about Anti-Bullying Day, and then students dressed in pink broke into dance. Pink cupcakes and cookies were also sold at the school.

Rhode came to Chemainus Secondary School this year from Chilliwack Secondary School and says she wanted to do something to mark Anti-Bullying Day because her new school hadn’t done something like this before.

She took over the idea of a flash mob from her leadership teacher and organized it all in just one week.

“It turned out really well,” she said. “I’m really proud of it.”

All students at Ladysmith Secondary School received pink T-shirts from Vancouver Island Insurance Centres. There were announcements throughout the day, and it was all about creating awareness, explained teacher Michelle Steel.

“It was amazing to see all the students wearing shirts,” she said. “We’re so grateful to Vancouver Island Insurance Centres and our local office for providing shirts for every kid.”

At Penelakut Island Elementary School, students participated in an anti-bullying poster competition and draws for pink T-shirts. There was also an assembly about bullying.

“We take anti-bullying very seriously here, and it’s something we’re proud of,” said principal Tim Harris.

Throughout the year, Penelakut Island Elementary School follows a school-wide anti-bullying program called Focus on Bullying, in which every class has a unit on bullying, explained Harris.

As well, the school has a Virtues program in which classes talk about a certain virtue each month, and February’s word was “kindness.”

Harris thinks 80 to 90 per cent of students wore pink on Feb. 29.

“They all sure enjoyed doing the poster contest, and teachers enjoyed doing lessons on bullying,” said Harris. “I think anti-bullying should be September to June and shouldn’t be just one day. We do that here.”