City starts Pink Shirt Day sales for bullying awareness

By Courtney Almeida
February 9, 2019 - 7:00am

February 27 is International Pink Shirt Day for bullying awareness. In support of the campaign that was started in Nova Scotia back in 2007, the City of Grande Prairie will be selling t-shirts.  

Advocates say bullying is a critical issue in schools, workplaces, homes and online. Wearing a Pink Shirt on February 27 will signify that you do not tolerate bullying.

“Once a year, we do our Pink Shirt campaigns and a lot of the schools get on board,” says Cheryl George, Public Education & Events Coordinator for The City of Grande Prairie.  “They all wear pink shirts that day, that say, ‘You Are Not Alone’ and it’s a social media campaign as well so everybody takes pictures of themselves in their t-shirts and we put that on Facebook.”

#YouAreNotAlone will also be used on social media to raise awareness.

The inspiration behind the campaign came from a small act of kindness in Berwick, Nova Scotia in 2007. David Shepherd and Travis Price took a stand against homophobic bullying after Grade 9 student Chuck McNeill was threatened and harassed for wearing a pink shirt on his first day of school.

Upon witnessing this bullying, Shepherd and Price took action. The boys bought 50 pink shirts at a local discount store, sent out a message to classmates that night, and the next day distributed the shirts at school. As word spread, hundreds of students showed up dressed in pink from head-to-toe to take a stand against bullying together.

The story inspired a global campaign, with social media posts and donations coming from almost 180 countries last year.

Proceeds from The City of Grande Prairie t-shirt sales support anti-bullying initiatives right here in the Peace Country.

“Bullying is very prevalent in Grande Prairie,” notes George. Through the City's Child and Youth Intervention Program, staff works with bullying offenders as part of the Bullying Bylaw. This bylaw holds bullies accountable for their behaviour and gives them support and resources to resolve their pattern of bullying.

Regardless of age, offenders can be penalized. “Somebody can be charged with bullying, somebody who is under the age of 18. They can be charged up to five times for a $250 fine, each time. When they get over the age of 18, then it would be Assault that they are actually charged with,” says George.

The goal of the City of Grande Prairie is to “raise awareness and let everybody know that bullying is not accepted,” explains George.

Shirts are available on a first come, first serve basis. Pricing is set for $10 for students or kids and $20 for adults.

Purchases can be made by cash at Crime Prevention at City on 99th, 9910 99 Avenue. 

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