With pink shirts and strong messages of unity, Shawnigan has embraced a nationwide stand against bullying.
The School convened for Tuesday's Headmaster's Gathering wearing new pink T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Nice Needs no Filter." The service included a collection of powerful messages, ranging from skits to personal accounts of oppression.
A group of Grade 11s provided a dramatic account of the cumulative effects of bullying, as they encouraged their peers to empathize and not to judge others.
Other students spoke candidly about how being bullied affected their well-being, how they wish they could have behaved differently when witnessing bullying, and even how they regret participating in bullying themselves.
Perhaps most provocative was Grade 10 student Spencer N. who described the depression he felt after being a victim of bullying. Spencer also touched on the courage he finally found to confront his aggressors, and challenged the audience to join the fight themselves, asking "Are you able to make it happen?"
Tuesday morning's messages gave a personal face to a trending global message, and seemed to have an immediate effect. As an example, a group of Grade 12 girls elected to wear pants in support of Shawnigan girls who may have faced teasing in the past for this sartorial choice. "I don't think it was necessarily just for that, but also to prove a point in general," says Groves' House's Ava B. "The teachers have been telling us to leave a legacy behind. So we wanted to wear them, not for the fashion, but just to help break that stereotype."
Shawnigan Lake School is a co-educational boarding school on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The school is home to nationally-ranked academics, arts and athletics, with 100 per cent of graduates accepted to university.