Today, people at local schools and businesses will be wearing pink as a way to stand up and say that bullying is not okay.
Students and staff members at Lakeland Catholic School Division, Northern Lights Public Schools, East-Central Franchophone, and St. Paul Education are also taking part in the initiative.
Pink Shirt Day originated 14 years ago and has now become nationally recognized. In Vermilion, VIBE (Vermilion is Being Empowered) has been a key organizer for Pink Shirt Day activities.
“I think it’s a good message to the children,” said Heather Kuntz.
“I think the social wellness programs available for the children through VIBE are important because they learn from experience. They learn better from something tangible they can see, touch or feel versus reading about it in a textbook.”
This year, the sale of pink shirts transferred over from VIBE to Kuntz, who is the owner of Bumps, Babies, & Beyond.
For the past few years Kuntz has been involved with VIBE by ordering the logos, shirts, and putting them together with her heat press.
Even though sales were down this year due to COVID, she wanted to be able to offer the same pricing for people. Because she ran an online store, it allowed a way for people to safely order and she chose to deliver them personally. She does plan to continue in upcoming years, and may look at partnering with local businesses to have them available in store or drop boxes at the schools.
“This year, I will be donating a dollar from every purchase back to VIBE,” said Kuntz.
“It’s my way of giving back to the school. When you find a way to give back (especially this year) that’s a bonus.”
VIBE says that common forms of bullying include verbal (such as teasing or name-calling), physical (such as hitting, kicking, pushing and breaking someone’s toys or favourite things) or social (like leaving someone out or spreading rumours). They also said cyberbullying takes place when people use social media or other technology like texting to threaten, embarrass or even damage someone’s reputation. VIBE said bullying is not a joke, that it can lead to things like depression, anxiety or low self-esteem, but they said it can be stopped.
If you know someone being bullied, they recommend talking to a teacher, the school, or calling the anonymous Bullying Helpline at 1(888)456-2323.