Artwork blanketed the steps of Victoria’s Parliament Buildings today as students displayed their canvases in the first Pink Shirt Day art gallery.
Students had been given the prompt “Paint Out Bullying” and told to let their imaginations run wild. The student creativity continued with a spoken word poetry performance.
Premier Christy Clark welcomed the artistic students from Victoria High and Esquimalt Secondary, as well as the spoken word performers from Reynolds Secondary. Travis Price, who originally established Pink Shirt Day, spoke about the importance of student safety.
Premier Clark and Education Minister Mike Bernier also proclaimed today as Bullying Awareness Day, highlighting B.C.’s commitment to a safe and inclusive province. “Nine years after our first Pink Shirt Day, it’s inspiring to witness students’ continued passion for erasing bullying,” Clark said.
Today’s Pink Shirt Day was the ninth time the day has been acknowledged in B.C. It also brings additional emphasis to B.C.’s ERASE Bullying Strategy (Expect Respect And a Safe Education).
ERASE Bullying is a 10-point, comprehensive prevention and intervention strategy designed to address bullying and harmful behaviours in schools.
Launched in June 2012, the strategy focuses on personalized supports and interventions for students. Through the strategy, more than 13,000 community partners (e.g., police, child welfare workers) have been trained to address bullying and threat-making behaviour, including cyberbullying and online threats using social media. In the past year, the training has been expanded, with a stronger emphasis on cyberbullying and mental health.
Since their release last February, the ERASE social media guidelines have been downloaded more than 1,300 times and viewed more than 3,000 times. The guidelines were developed by the ERASE Student Advisory.