Premier, minister issue statements on Pink Shirt Day

Province of British Columbia
By Province of British Columbia
February 28th, 2024

Premier David Eby has issued the following statement marking Pink Shirt Day:

“Today, as people throughout the province proudly wear pink, we are reminded that we all have a responsibility to stand up against bullying.

“The message of Pink Shirt Day is as relevant today as it was back in 2007, when two Nova Scotia high-school students stood up for a boy who had been teased for wearing a pink shirt. Travis Price and David Shepherd encouraged their classmates to wear pink to show their support for the student and, in doing so, started an international anti-bullying movement.

“We have made a lot of progress on addressing bullying since then, but we have much more work to do. Bullying remains a pervasive problem that has become even more insidious in the age of social media.

“We have seen the devastating effects of online bullying and harassment here in B.C. Last year, two boys took their own lives after becoming victims of online sexual extortion: 12-year-old Carson Cleland and a 14-year-old boy whose family has asked that his name not be shared. These tragedies came more than a decade after 15-year-old Amanda Todd died by suicide after she, too, was cyberbullied and sextorted online.

“The loss of a child, especially under these circumstances, is unimaginable. Despite their pain, Amanda’s mom, Carol Todd, and Carson’s parents, Ryan Cleland and Nicola Smith, have become strong advocates for change.

“And so has our government.

“One of our government’s top priorities is keeping kids safe at school, in their communities and online. That’s why we recently launched a suite of actions to protect young people from online threats, restrict cellphones in schools and hold social media companies accountable for the harm they have caused.

“These actions build on our ongoing work to ensure kids of all sexual orientations, gender identities, cultures and backgrounds feel safe, welcome and supported at school. Just over a year ago, we launched our K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan. Since then, we have engaged with racialized youth and communities, and released an anti-racism guide for teachers. We are also in the process of refreshing our Erase (expect respect and a safe education) strategy to ensure it continues to meet the changing needs of our school communities. Additionally, we are expanding youth mental-health services so if young people do experience bullying, they can get the help they need.

“Today, my family and I will wear pink and talk about how we can be better supporters of all kids, in the halls of the school and the halls of the legislature. I encourage everyone in British Columbia to do the same. Together, we can end bullying.”

“Today marks the 17th anniversary of Pink Shirt Day, a day where we join as a province to celebrate diversity, belonging and empowerment,” said Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care.

“Together, with our partners, our work continues in creating inclusive schools where everyone can be free to be themselves while learning and thriving. Thank you to all our partners who work tirelessly to ensure B.C. students are welcomed at school as their authentic selves each day.

“We are committed to keeping students safe and supported throughout B.C. This includes working with parents like Carol Todd, the founder of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society and a digital literacy educator in the Coquitlam School District, and Carson’s parents, Ryan Cleland and Nicola Smith, who in the face of loss became strong advocates for kids in our province.

“Both as a parent and as the minister responsible for education and child care in our province, I’m so pleased to be able to mark this important day, as we recognize the importance of standing up and supporting each other with empathy, compassion and kindness.”

This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com
Categories: EducationGeneral