Dover Bay students Taylor Aniceto, 16, with Sophia Sung, 17 and Mikaela Robinson, 17, are helping to plan anti-bullying week, where students will be encouraged to be kind. Pink Shirt Day is Wednesday, Feb. 28. TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/News Bulletin

Students focus on kindness for anti-bullying week

Pink Shirt Day is Feb. 28

Dover Bay students may find notes stuck on their backs this week, but these messages are all about kindness and compliments.

Dover Bay Secondary is turning Pink Shirt Day, Feb. 28, into a week of activities meant to encourage positivity and kindness.

Pink Shirt Day is an annual event against bullying that began in 2007 when a student from Nova Scotia was bullied for dressing in pink and his peers took a stand by all wearing the colour.

People now mark the day by dressing in pink. More than $1.8 million has also been raised through the sale of pink shirts since 2008 and has gone toward organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs, Red Cross RespectED Violence Prevention Program and Kids Help Phone, states a press release from CKNW Orphans’ Fund.

This year’s theme is Nice Needs No Filter, which the release says is encouraging people to combat cyberbullying by thinking twice before posting something negative and instead, using the internet to spread kindness.

It’s also the 10-year anniversary of Pink Shirt Day and the Canadian Red Cross plans to mark it by sharing the activities happening at Dover Bay, and nine other B.C. schools, on its social media channels.

Dover’s event includes photo walls for students to take pictures, a Snapchat filter, and rainbow-coloured paper on which students can write positive messages for a chain that will surround the school atrium. Students can also write compliments and other nice messages to post on people’s backs.

Student council executives Sophia Sung and Mikaela Robinson, 17, and leadership program student Taylor Aniceto, 16, say the week is less focused on the message of not bullying, and more about being kind.

“I think everybody is aware of anti-bullying and kids get it all the time from presentations, but it’s kind of like a new spin, a different look on it almost,” said Sung.

Robinson believes cyberbullying is more common than the physical bullying seen in movies and said by having a balloon wall and Snapchat filter, the hope is people will use social media in a positive way and for inclusiveness rather than to put others down.

She also said a week of interactive activities should be more impactful for students than passively participating one day by wearing a shirt.

Official Pink Shirt Day T-shirts are available at London Drugs.

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