MONTREAL, JANUARY 16, 2015- As the English Montreal School Board continues to work proactively in combat eliminate bullying, Vincent Massey Collegiate in Rosemount will once again take the lead locally on Pink Shirt Day (www.pinkshirtday.ca) on Wednesday, February 13, 2015 – two weeks in advance of the national day.
In 2007, two Nova Scotia students decided to take action after witnessing a younger student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. The students bought 50 pink t-shirts and encouraged classmates to wear them and send a powerful message of solidarity to the bully. The next day at school, over 500 youth showed up wearing pink and the bully was not heard from again.
Vincent Massey Collegiate (VMC) in Rosemount will once again take the lead locally on Pink Shirt Day on February 13th 2015. One of the many ways VMC promotes a healthy and welcoming school environment is to concretely involve students in a Pink Shirt Design contest. All submissions are carefully reviewed by T.H.E. R.A.M.S student leaders in collaboration with the Safe School Action Plan Committee teachers.
Pink Shirt Day at VMC began three years ago and was initiated by dedicated teachers Vincent Gagnon, Cassandra Bauco, Andrée-Anne Cloutier, Lisa Ancona, Rachel Legg-Goldman, Jessica Rickhaus, Jaimie Dimopoulos, Emilia Quintana and Robert Pereira, along with Spiritual Community Animator Rocco Speranza and guidance counsellor Tina Stoupakis.
Students and staff alike proudly wear a pink t-shirt pink that symbolizes that we as a society and school community will not tolerate bullying. “As an organization that puts students at the center and we are always excited at the prospect of receiving their designs proposals,” says Mr. Gagnon, the chairman of the school’s Safe School Action Plan. “The success of this day is attributed to our students’ engagement to this cause, so it makes sense to incorporate their fresh vision into our ongoing work in a concrete way.” Mr. Vincent Gagnon, chairperson of the Safe School Action Plan, said. “I look forward to our continued and genuine relationship for fair representation of our contribution benefiting the students, our school and last but not least the English-Montreal School Board.
At the EMSB press conference to launch the KINDERgarten initiative, Mr. Speranzo encouraged other schools to get involved. “It was a way to get youth actively involved in raising awareness about the issue of bullying while encouraging positive life skills,” said Mr. Speranzo. “Since it began the program has had a positive impact on our students. I see much more group unity, an increased school spirit and a lot more involvement in programs of this nature.”
This year’s slogan will be “Don’t Stand-by! Stand up!/Ne ferme pas les yeux. Agir c’est mieux!” Students will be participating in a Pink Day t-shirt design contest, and several local celebrities will be doing PSAs to promote the event. In December, the school held a special commemoration for the 25th anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre. Also, as part of its rules of conduct regarding bullying, the school has “T.H.E. R.A.M.S” Pledge, in which students pledge to empower others by taking a stand against bullying and to promote inclusion, acceptance and respect for all. As well, there is a phrase in the pledge – “Tolerance helps everyone raising awareness makes sense” – in which the first letters of each word spell out “T.H.E. R.A.M.S.,” which is the nickname of the school’s sports team.
Leading up to and on February 25, 2015, EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini, herself a graduate of Vincent Massey Collegiate, encourages everyone to wear something pink to symbolize that we as a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere.