At CIS, we celebrated Pink Shirt Day on Wednesday, February 23. Our students led assemblies about anti-bullying and being inclusive while wearing their pink shirts. We are proud of the work they are doing to create a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment.

Pink Shirt Day, also known as Anti-Bullying Day, is an annual event observed in Canada and other countries worldwide in which people wear pink shirts to protest bullying in schools and society at-large. It is regarded as one of the most important days of the school year with student and teacher-led performances to show appreciation for inclusive learning environments.

In 2007, then grade nine student Chuck McNeill chose to wear a pink shirt on the first day of school in Nova Scotia. Later that day, he was made fun of by a group of students for his personal choices regarding his clothes. The story went across schools until it landed in Berwick, Nova Scotia, where two students named David Shepherd and Travis Price took action against this. They decided to organize an event where they distributed 75 pink shirts to students in their school to spread awareness–marking the first ‘Pink Shirt Day’ ever held.  

Later that year, in recognition of these events, Nova Scotia Premier Rodney MacDonald declared the second day of every September as “Stand Up Against Bullying Day”. Gordon Campbell , former Premier of British Columbia, established February 27 as Provincial Anti-Bullying Day in 2008. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada created pink t-shirts with the words “Bullying Stops Here.” and “Pink Shirt Day” for Anti-Bullying Day in 2009. The United Nations designated May 4 as U.N. Anti-Bullying Day in 2012.

Following the lead of the United Nations, UNESCO designated the first Thursday of November as the International Day Against Violence and Bullying at School, including Cyberbullying, in 2012.

Fifteen years later, thousands of schools worldwide are following those steps of teaching kindness and spreading love within the educational community. That one day back in 2007 ignited an entire movement to celebrate and keep alive. This event is a way to show that differences should be embraced, bullying should have no place on school grounds or outside of it, and only kindness can create a safe environment.