EDITORIAL: Anti-bullying day, every day

It can happen in a school hallway or in a Facebook post.

And signs that your child is being bullied aren’t always easily perceptible. Most children don’t want to talk about it. That leaves it up to parents to decode subtle changes in their child’s behaviour.

If kids are left suffering alone, the consequences can be tragic. But it’s getting easier to talk about bullying.

In 2009, then-premier Gordon Campbell declared Feb. 25 Anti-Bullying Day in B.C., with the intention of raising awareness about bullying and providing easy-to-access resources for parents and kids.

Anti-Bullying Day built on a grassroots movement that started in 2007 in Nova Scotia, when a pair of Grade 12 students came to the defence of a ninth grader who’d been bullied for wearing a pink polo shirt. The older students organized a rally and handed out pink T-shirts. The bullies quickly decamped.

In B.C., radio station CKNW has kept the anti-bullying crusade alive by supporting an annual Pink Shirt Day that encourages schools, businesses and other organizations to take a stand against bullies.

In schools throughout the Lower Mainland, including Abbotsford, there also continues to be a pink tsunami of support. Yesterday (Wednesday) – this year’s Anti-Bullying Day – students also joined their counterparts everywhere supporting the movement.

In recent years, there’s been a lot done to take the power away from bullies. In B.C. schools, there’s now zero tolerance for student intimidation that stems from code-of-conduct legislation enacted in 2007. And, online resources are widely available to help parents to deal with bullying behaviour.

But it’s not time to get complacent. Bullying still happens in schools. And for some kids, that means daily torment. Pink Shirt Day is a reminder to talk with our kids to make sure that no child feels intimidated when they leave their home. It’s also a reminder to rally around those who are the victims of bullying.

That kind of support is required every day, not just Anti-Bullying Day.

– Black Press

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