An education assistant at Harwood elementary has spearheaded a campaign to purchase pink shirts for all students and staff at the school to allow everyone to participate in Pink Shirt Day today.
It all started this fall when Sean Chippendale came up with the idea and contacted teacher Karyn Godard while she was still on maternity leave, asking for her thoughts on the idea and if she’d be able to help
Godard jumped on board right away and Chippendale reached out to the community for support.
“As a school we believe in standing up to bullies and supporting kids in every way possible,” said Chippendale, in his letter. “On this day most kids try to wear pink shirts, but it’s not always possible for everyone. We feel it is important to be unified as a school and send a strong message that all students can clearly see.”
Pink Shirt Day got its start in Nova Scotia in 2007 when two high school students bought pink shirts to give to fellow students to show their support for a boy who was being bullied simply for wearing a pink shirt.
In B.C., Pink Shirt Day is marked this year on Wednesday, Feb. 28 and the annual event puts a spotlight on bullying, considered a major problem in schools, workplaces, homes and online.
While still on maternity leave, Godard arrived at school in December to help design the logo, which features handprints from students in all grades.
“We came up with the slogan ‘Harwood, Where you and I Belong. Speak Up, Stand Together,’” she said. “We want to keep a positive message about belonging and standing up together. I believe together we can make a difference.”
Chippendale reached out to Rob Ellis and with his help, the project has had the generous support from Rellish Transport Services, Bannister GM, Boston Pizza, A & W, White House Mortgages, JC Bradley Jewellers, Graphic Enterprises, Davidson Pringle, A.M.I Clothing, Vernon Alliance Church, N.O.R.A, Tolko, and Coldstream Lumber.
“The shirts will remain the property of Harwood elementary and will be given out to students each year to wear so that they all can feel they are able to participate in spreading a message of unity against bullying,” said Godard. “We really appreciate the support of the community in making this project a reality.
“Our message extends beyond one day, but this will take us one step closer to including everyone and showing what the support of a community really can do. The message this project also conveys is that our community cares about us and we all belong.”