Pink Shirt Day last Wednesday was the high point of a week of anti-bullying activities in Clearwater schools.
Raft River Elementary School was the busiest, starting with a boisterous crowd of T-shirt purchasers before the opening bell. The excited buyers formed a line that extended along the main corridor from one end of the school to the other, trying to buy one of the new shirts. By noon, most of these new shirts were covered with names and autographs of classmates, friends and teachers.
At noon, a student team competed in a floor hockey game against the RCMP in front of a noisy crowd of pink-shirted RRES supporters. It truly was a Raft River school team as every age group was represented; two students were selected from each class to participate on the team. The RCMP put up a seven-member roster, one in full working uniform.
A small but significant activity took place at Clearwater Secondary School with Grade 11 leadership students Kaylee Ashe and Caitlyn Harbidge leading a sharing circle. Some of the topics included the different types of bullying, where, how and why it happens, as well as some strategies to deal with bullies.
Child and youth councellor Bruce MacLeod and teacher Trish Persad sat in as a group of about a dozen discussed a variety of issues and shared some of their experiences.
One of the issues discussed was how bullying seems only to occur when adults are not present. The theory goes that in the power vacuum created by this absence, young people attempt to establish social dominance. Adults still encounter bullying but not to the extent apparent in youth.
Pink Shirt Day was initiated as a peer response to a bullying incident involving a Grade 9 student in Nova Scotia several years ago.