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Edmonton students take a stand against bullying on Pink Shirt Day
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton
Published Wednesday, February 27, 2013 12:17PM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 27, 2013 1:31PM MST
Students in Edmonton took a stand against bullying on Wednesday by joining countless others across Canada for a national campaign to stop bullying.
Wednesday is Pink Shirt Day, where people across the country are encouraged to wear pink in a show of solidarity against bullying.
Hundreds of students at M.E. LaZerte High School took part in the campaign by wearing pink shirts that featured a ‘no bullies’ symbol along with text reading ‘silence is acceptance, speak loudly.’
Students at M.E. have come up with anti-bullying pledge, while others have even made videos on the topic of bullying.
“Ultimately it’s just to build a real caring community where students feel they belong and they care about one another,” said Shelly Kofluk, with the school’s Student Leadership program.
“Students I think they really realize it comes down to accepting everybody for them being unique, for them being different, and really just embracing the spirit of everyone in the school.”
Students were also encouraged to sign a large pink anti-bullying banner.
“I have been bullied in the past and so I just want to show people that, look at me, I’ve overcome the bullying and I’m stronger and better than ever because of these programs that we have in our schools,” said Grade 12 student Mohamed Rahall.
Rola Kamaleddine says she sees and hears cases of bullying often and hopes Pink Shirt Day and other anti-bullying efforts will make a difference.
“People have the right to be themselves and not fear being marginalized and being judged by their peers. We’re all the same, we all have the right to live our lives,” Kamaleddine said.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this because now I’m aware and I can make my fellow students aware about it and hopefully we can take a stand together and stop the bullying.”
Pink Shirt Day began several years ago after a Nova Scotia high school student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt.
The next day, the student’s classmates showed up at school wearing pink shirts in a stand against bullying.
The movement has since spread across the country with 6.4 million Canadians taking part in the campaign last year.
Other schools in Edmonton also took part in Pink Shirt Day in different ways.
The graduation council at McNally held a pink bake sale and raffle. W.P. Wagner’s grad council handed out pink candy and cards while students and staff at Winterburn donned pink and students at Lillian Osborne wore pink and student-made buttons.
Kofluk says she hopes those participating in the national campaign will continue to stand up against bullying once the day is over.
“How do you live it beyond just the T-shirt purchase and taking the pledge?” Kofluk said.
“Just remind them that this isn’t something they can forget about and the journey will continue with them."