Rainbow schools wear pink on ‘Stand Up Against Bullying Day’

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SUDBURY—Staff and students in Rainbow schools will wear pink this Thursday, September 15 as Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) marks a milestone with this back-to-school tradition.

“It’s been 15 years since we have recognized ‘Stand Up Against Bullying Day’ at the start of the school year,” said RDSB chair Bob Clement. “Wearing pink has become a tangible symbol of our collective commitment to safe schools.”

“In Rainbow schools, we not only instill in students the skills they need to become independent, we also build responsible and respectful citizens who care about each other and the world in which they live,” said Mr. Clement.

“When students feel safe and supported in warm and welcoming learning environments, they gain a sense of belonging at school,” said director of education Bruce Bourget. “Belonging is fundamental to wellbeing which is fundamental to student success.”

Mr. Bourget invited parents/guardians, education partners and community members to join staff and students in Rainbow Schools in wearing pink on September 15. “When we all wear pink, it sends a positive message that the entire community values safe and inclusive schools. It shows students that there is a strong circle of care supporting them in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin Island.”

RDSB’s commitment to student success is reflected in its strategic direction through its renewed mission: “Together, we prepare students to become lifelong learners, achieving their full potential as confident, caring members of society.”

RDSB strategic direction includes ten values that are modeled, taught and expected in Rainbow Schools. The Seven Grandfather Teachings-humility, bravery, honesty, wisdom, truth, respect, love-are braided together with resilience, equity and community.

“Our values provide the foundation for ongoing character development throughout the school year,” said Mr. Bourget. “Character development programs and activities in Rainbow schools complement the board’s code of conduct, which promotes responsibility, respect, civility, and academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment.”

‘Stand Up Against Bullying Day’ began in Nova Scotia where secondary school students Travis Price and   David Shepherd arranged for dozens of their classmates to wear pink shirts in support of another male student who had been bullied for wearing pink. The province of Nova Scotia subsequently declared the second Thursday at the start of every school year to be ‘Stand Up Against Bullying Day.’

The actions of these two young men, along with their fellow students who wore pink to school in support of another student, reverberated across Canada and in Rainbow Schools. RDSB’s parent involvement committee championed the cause.

Fifteen years ago, trustees unanimously endorsed the following motion and continue to support and encourage this positive initiative: “That Rainbow District School Board declared the second Thursday of each new school year commencing September 11, 2008, as ‘Stand Up Against Bullying Day.’ Further, we encourage all Rainbow students and staff to conduct activities that day to increase awareness and to support action and to wear something pink to demonstrate their support and commitment to ending bullying in our schools and communities.”