Promoting the message that "bullies aren't cool," employees at mobile surveillance system manufacturer Seon Design participated in Pink Shirt Day celebrated across Canada on Wednesday. The event raises awareness of the bullying problem in schools, at home and on the Internet.
Pink Shirt Day was started by talk radio station CKNW AM 980 in Vancouver, British Columbia, after a news article detailed that two high-school boys from Nova Scotia, David Shepherd and Travis Price, coordinated a response against the bullying of another boy because he wore a pink shirt. The two student organizers distributed 50 pink tank-top shirts to all the other boys in school to wear in protest. CKNW then partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Vancouver to promote Pink Shirt Day citywide because it promotes awareness, understanding and openness about the problem and a shared commitment to a solution.
A Facebook page was also launched to promote the anti-bullying message.
A blog post by Tia O'Grady, Seon's marketing coordinator, recalls how she felt anxious when she rode the school bus as a youngster and another student was bullied. One boy, she writes, was brutally teased and suffered physical abuse almost every single day for the entire school year.
"He got off at the same bus stop as I did, as we lived on the same street and would walk up the hill together," continues O'Grady. "The quiet tears I saw rolling down his cheeks made me feel helpless. No one deserves that kind of treatment, and nothing was done to stop it."
O'Grady ties the anti-bullying campaign into the well-publicized story last spring of school bus monitor Karen Klein, who was bullied incessantly by several students on the bus. One such moment was captured on cellphone video by one of the students and broadcasted on YouTube. O'Grady also mentions 15-year-old Amanda Todd, who committed suicide after being bullied. Before she took her own life, Todd turned to YouTube to use flash cards that shared the trauma she was experiencing.
According to the National Education Association, 160,000 students miss school every day due to the fear of attack or intimidation by other children.
"Pink Shirt Day is a fantastic campaign. School-aged children can actively participate and learn how to make a difference," concludes O'Grady in her blog post. "Almost 15 years ago, I did not think I could do anything about the bullying on my school bus, but Pink Shirt Day's history proves that something can always be done.
"Today, I wear my pink shirt to support people that both have been, and are currently, being bullied. Many Seon staff members walk proud in the halls today with their pink shirts. We invite the public to support the cause and stand together as a community against bullying."