It’s that day of the school year once again when we consider bullying, how to prevent it and what to do when confronted with it…and don pink T-shirts – but we’ll get to that in a minute.
First, know that several Palm Beach County Schools have planned events or conversations for this day, including Okeeheelee Middle School which has perhaps the biggest headliner of the day: The actor who played football player Michael Oher in the movie The Blind Side, Quinton Aaron.
School officials say Aaron will spend the day at the school in suburban West Palm Beach. He’s talking at morning assemblies and then working with smaller groups at lunch time.
Now, back to those pink T-shirts…
Wearing a pink T-shirt made one boy in a school in Canada a target for bullies in 2007. But his classmates didn’t stand for it. They rallied by buying a mass of pink tank tops at the local dollar store and handing them out for kids to wear the next day.
Out of that show of support was born Pink T-Shirt Day – now an international event.
Wednesday in Palm Beach County, the Literacy Coalition is sponsoring events to further the anti-bullying message during Pink T-Shirt Day. Suncoast High School students volunteered to support Pink T-Shirt Day in the district’s schools. And Berkshire Elementary in West Palm Beach is making a day of it with dancing, art-covered halls and more.
Here’s part of the Pink T-Shirt Day origins story from The Globe and Mail:
“David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied [for wearing a pink shirt]…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school.
‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’
As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled.
“The bullies were never heard from again.”