I remember when the circumstances that helped create Pink Shirt Day first happened – it was one of the notable stories of the week, September of 2007. It had a John Hughes film quality to it – a new student attends his first day of classes at a rural high-school in Nova Scotia, wearing a pink Polo shirt. Fair enough – Polo is always a solid choice and in 2007, I think pink was supposed to be the new black.
No problem there, not counting the high-school bullies.
Surprising to nobody that’s ever attended high-school, they went to work on the new kid, verbally beating him down with the bluntest instrument in the vocabulary of teenage boys everywhere; homo.
The surprising, almost unbelievable part of the story is that two Grade 12 students took offence on behalf of the younger Grade 9 classmate, and using their own money, a discount clothing store, and online social networking, they bought 50 pink t-shirts and handed them out at the school door the next day. And the 50 was supplemented by even more students that wore their own pink apparel. It seems like an obvious twofer – get an awesome excuse to wear that pink sweater AND stick it to the thuggish common denominator at the same time.
Anyhow, happy ending – the new student’s confidence is restored, two grade 12 students are national heroes (Go Canada!), and the bullies are doing whatever it is bullies do when they don’t get their way. Smoking, carving things into desks, and punching one another in the arm, one would imagine.
But it doesn’t end there – an anecdote this perfect has, inevitably, become the focus of an new, annual campaign to take a stand against school bullying – the literally named Pink Shirt Day [PSD] on February 25th (yeah, I’m not sure why it’s not September either – I’m assuming there’s an awareness calendar and September was full.)
Most of us aren’t in high-school any more, but we were all there once. And at least in some small way, the kids around us aspire to be us – independant and critical thinkers. And to be honest, we’re all better looking people now anyhow. Plus black and pink looks awesome, hipsters. So, why not show a little support on Feb. 25th? Pull on some pink, and wherever possible, pass this along to your friends. The perfect Hollywood ending for this story is if the actions of two clever young men trigger and annual, international event.