"FOR BULLIES, THINK PINK"
Defeating the bullies turns out to easy- when bystanders rise up. Two teenage boys at a Nova Scotia high school haveovercome a pack of bullies with an idea so simple and so powerful it may yet spread throughNorth America, and perhaps beyond. They arranged for their schoolmates to wear pink in symathy with a boy who was targeted by at least six bullies for wearing a pink at school. justn two days after the bullying episode, roughly half of the 830 students at Central Kings Rural High School in the Annapolis Valley arrived decked in pink. The bullies will not dare rear their heads again.
Far more than any anti-bullying program designed by adults, the idea from Grade 12 students Travis Price and David Shepherd ( who were bullied themselves when they were younger) has taken on a life of its own. Young people in high schools around the province have come to scool in pink; one school served pink mased potatoes; and Premier Rodney MacDonald wore pink and declared the second Thursday of each schol year Stand Up Against Bullying Day. In Toronto today, Malvern Collegiate Institute , in a neighbourhood infested with gangs and guns, is picking up on the wear-pink campaign. As far away as Spain, the news media have taken notice.
What accounts for the power of this idea? It is a kind of popular revolt against the tyrants who exist in schoolyards everywhee. It is the mobilizationnot of the mob but of the democratic impulse to protect the vulnerable as an act of citizenship. The beauty of it is that it involves the normally cowed masses- those whom author Barbara Coloroso calls the "bystanders" who facilitate bullying by watching and doing nothing. And the very technology that bullies are using these days to such humiliating effect- the Internet- is an efficiant way of inviting bystanders to become rebels.
In it's own, small way, the wearing of pink idea is reminiscent of the story, apparently apocryphal, of Danisih King Christian X's wearing of a Star of David in symathy with Jews during the Second World War. Instead of giving up the vulnerable to the bully, the leaders and their people step forward to shield the vulnerable. It's an example worth emulating. Travis Price and David Shepherd are still teenagers, but they may yet change the world.