By: Janet Chukwu
Last year, Forest Hill Collegiate had the privilege of working with the Toronto Police to create an amazing Day of Pink event. The school showed exceptional school spirit, with the entire school dressing in pink for the special day.
Image from TPSNews.ca
Day of Pink started when a student in Nova Scotia wore pink to school and was teased for his choice of clothing. The following day, students showed their support for the student by wearing pink. The original intention was to support the student and to show support for others who identify themselves with the LGBTQ community, like the student did. Over time, the pink shirt tradition has become a symbol of support for not only those in the LGBTQ community, but for others who are constantly bullied.
Bullying is an unfortunate part of high school life. Students feast on the idea of belittling others for selfish and petty reasons, believing their bullying will put them above the person they are tormenting. Quite the opposite is true. The victims may sometimes feel helpless, if the tormenting is continuous, and eventually may feel as though they deserve to be punished. Though this piece of advice has been instilled in the minds of everyone beginning from elementary school, it is important to know that if you or someone you know is being bullied, the best way to find help is to inform an adult with whom you trust. Students shy away from this option, most often assuming that telling an adult would make the person a “snitch” and seen as a weak individual who could not solve the problem on their own. This is an unfortunate misconception among teenagers, and the stigma around telling an adult needs to fade. Studies have found that there is a strong connection between suicide and bullying, especially when the bullied are isolated and do not seek help from adults.
An adult you trust would work with you — not against you — to help fix the problem of bullying
If you know someone who is being bullied, comfort them, and let them know that you are always willing to listen to them. Do not promise to take it upon yourself and defend your friend by in turn bullying the bully.
A good friend would tell an adult about the situation who will help make it better. Bystanders also have an effect on bullying. The actions of a bystander who watches the situation from afar and believes he/she is making a good choice by not getting involved, can be considered just as hurtful as the bully. The best choice, as usual, is to tell an adult. If you wish to not have any part of the situation, let the adult know that you wish to remain anonymous, and only wanted to inform the adult of the situation.
Bullying takes on many forms. In this technological age, students find themselves in the middle of social media feuds, thinking they will gain popularity status for engaging in petty online fights. The sly but hurtful remarks teenagers make online to impress friends/followers is considered bullying. Taking pictures of another individual without their consent to purposely embarrass that person is also bullying. In some cases, cyber bullying is a criminal offence.
How do you avoid this? Before you post something, think about how the other person would feel about it. Consider how it would make you feel, if the situation were the other way around. Before posting something mean thinking it would make everyone laugh, consider the consequences that could follow, should the person choose to report the incident. This Day of Pink, wear a pink article of clothing not only because the school is encouraging you to, but to show your support for victims of bullying.