School liaison officers with the Saanich police will have to bleach and re-bleach their white work shirts, after dying them pink to stand up against bullying.
The quintet of officers donned their new dress Wednesday (Feb. 27) as part of Pink Shirt Day in B.C.
“The school liaison section does a lot of work with anti-bullying. We do presentations, both formal and informal, on a number of topics,” said Sgt. Nick Ross. “Working with the community and with the schools to really raise awareness of not just what bullying is but how to combat it and how to react in a different way so it doesn’t even happen in our community is what our section works hard to do.”
Ross and his fellow school liaison officers attended assemblies and events at Saanich schools Wednesday, participating in spreading the anti-bullying message.
“A couple classes I went in to today, I heard a lot of discussion about what each person can do to avoid a situation happening. Thinking before you speak and really choosing your words and actions carefully so we prevent bullying from happening is our ultimate goal,” Ross said.
Saanich firefighters on shift Wednesday also wore pink in support of Pink Shirt Day.
“Kids are the ones who are most affected by it. It’s good for those kids to look around and see they’re not alone in their fight and see there’s a lot of people supporting them,” said firefighter Jared Barker. “And it’s about showing bullies that they’re in the minority.”
Ross says that message needs to remain in the public eye, and not solely be heard on the one day a year where pink shirts are worn to optically show support.
“I think for all schools this is an everyday education move towards a goal where any student can come to school and regardless or their differences or what they like or don’t like, they’re not targeted,” he said. “Today just showcases the approach that schools are taking.”
Pink Shirt Day began in 2007 as a protest by two Nova Scotia high school students who saw a fellow student bullied because he wore a pink shirt to school. In response, the two students bought 50 pink T-shirts and distributed them to classmates, to symbolize a unified stand against bullying.