Pink shirt day celebrated at school
Strategies on how to combat bullying involved a throng of pink shirt, ribbon and grin wearing Girls’ High students for Pink Shirt Day on Friday.
The international awareness day encourages people around the world to talk about bullying and find ways to reduce it in the community.
School Guidance prefect Paige Mackenzie, organised a week of activities, including support sessions for year 9 and 10 pupils.
The school’s year 13 students spent the week visiting year 9 and 10 classrooms to offer advice on how to handle situations when bullying occurs.
‘‘It’s just to provide them with tools and advice about how they can help out and know what to do if someone’s being bullied,’’ Paige says.
This interaction between year groups was important because the older students provided the younger ones with good role models.
‘‘They look up to them and bullying normally can start at a young age, so having that support there early on is good.’’
Pupils learned how to correctly handle potentially demeaning situations such as when someone drops their books. Paige’s message is instead of laughing at them, support them.
Pupils had access to school counselling services if they felt they were being bullied.
‘‘Having friends go [to counselling] with them and support them is so important.’’
The eighteen-year-old says the large turn out of Girls’ High students wearing pink and showing support for the cause made her happy and proud.
Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying after a new student was harassed and threatened for wearing pink.
It came to New Zealand in 2009 and is officially celebrated on May 20 by community groups, businesses and schools throughout the country.
‘‘Wearing pink – it’s not about the colour its about the message,’’ Paige says.
Guidance counsellor Melanie Osborne says it was great to see the students coming together to raise awareness of a good cause.
Across New Zealand a record number of people took part in the campaign, with more than 300 individuals, schools, community groups, universities, businesses and workplaces involved.
Guidance prefect Paige Mackenzie, 18, hugs fellow student Olivia Claridge, 17, as Palmerston North Girls’ High School students wear pink to show their support for an anti bullying campaign.