Team Lionheart hosts ‘cub training’
Madawaska Valley District High School students and staff wore pink April 11.
Photo Christine Hudder
BARRY’S BAY – Pink may seem like a delicate colour, but the message behind International Day of Pink is anything but subtle.
On April 11, hundreds of local students wore their brightest pink outfits to send a message that bullying will not be tolerated in their schools.
International Day of Pink started in Nova Scotia, when two high school students saw a gay student, who was wearing a pink shirt, being bullied. Not only did the two students stop the harassment, they wanted to show the bullies that their behaviour was not acceptable.
So, they rallied the school together and got everyone at school to wear pink to stop homophobic, transphobic and all forms of bullying.
The idea spread throughout Canada and the entire world, and now on the second Wednesday of April, people wear pink to continue to send a similar message.
At Madawaska Valley District High School, the event has been adopted by Team Lionheart; a group that aims to reduce bullying at the school.
Madison McLean is a member of Team Lionheart, and said that she does not see a lot of discrimination at MV.
“But I do know that some people still get bullied,” she admitted.
While many think of physical violence when it comes to bullying, Lionheart member Justina Sadecki said there are many other forms.
She said that MVDHS does not have “stereotypical bullying” and explained a lot of harassment is done subtly.
“We are focused on the smaller, harder things like online bullying,” Sadecki explained.
Amanda Lorbetski, another member, said exclusion is a common occurrence. But it is one of the hardest forms of harassment to notice.
“In a school that’s so small everyone is going to find out if a fight is going on,” Lorbetski said. “If someone goes and excludes someone…you might not necessarily find out.”
The Lionheart members admitted that girls probably get harassed more than their male counterparts, largely because of exclusion.
According to the International Day of Pink’s website, discrimination comes in many forms including racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, and anti-semitism, to name a few.
“These social diseases create barriers, bullying, harassment, hate and violence,” the website reads. “No one should have to experience the negativity created by discrimination. Day of Pink is more than just a symbol of a shared belief in celebrating diversity – it’s also a commitment to being open minded, accepting differences and learning to respect each other.”
Sadecki said it is easy for a girl to wear pink for the cause, but it is usually difficult to find male students willing to take part. But that’s all changing at the high school, she said.
“A lot of guys are taking an interest,” Sadecki observed. “It’s harder for guys to do it, but they are just showing that they aren’t standing for bullying either.”
Story continues in the April 19th issue of The Valley Gazette.