Children at the Boys and Girls Club in Esquimalt wear their pink shirts in a stand against bullying.

Children at the Boys and Girls Club in Esquimalt wear their pink shirts in a stand against bullying.

Pink shirts send message to schoolyard bullies

Kain Schneider is excited about the prospect of wearing his second favourite colour to send bullies a message.

The eight-year-old will join thousands of people across Canada next Wednesday (Feb. 23) participating in Pink Shirt Day. The anti-bullying campaign promotes zero tolerance towards bullying – at school, in the home and the workplace, on the street and online.

“There’ll be so many people wearing pink shirts that bullies will feel they’re missing out on something,” said Schneider, a Grade 3 student at Macaulay elementary school.

The fourth-annual event began in Nova Scotia when two male high school students began handing out pink shirts at school after another male student was bullied for wearing pink.

The campaign is so widely received that the Boys and Girls Clubs sold out of 2,500 pre-printed t-shirts on the Island two weeks before the big day, said Patti Sullivan, executive director of the Greater Victoria club.

Sale proceeds support club programs for kids and teens, from before-school breakfasts to after-school care, which Schneider attends.

People are still encouraged to wear anything pink to get the message out, especially important considering one in four kids are bullied and one in five admit to bullying, according to Esquimalt-based Rock Solid Foundation, which facilitates WITS, a school-based anti-bullying program.

That the message is sticking is good news to Rock Solid manager, Dorian Brown, who says bullying victims can suffer low self-esteem and depression.

“It tells a child they can do something about abuse. It tells them it’s not normal.”

emccracken@vicnews.com

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