Day 111 (of 186) The Struggle with Pink Day & Bullying
Pink day isn’t for everyone. It’s hard, but it’s true – for some the focus on bullying awareness hits a little too close to home and can sometimes lead to….the problems it wants addressed….
The kids (usually young) who miss the negation words anti- or no- and instead think this is the day to practice Bullying
The kids (usually the ones who know the secret codes to get out of classrooms) who suddenly have an assembly AND pink visuals making them think about what we often want them NOT to be thinking about. Which is why in recent years when we have assemblies on bullying….or snowballs…or…. I often use “friendly reminders” for the first 36 hours after the topic being addressed was at the front of their minds.
The kids who forget (or purposely refuse) to wear pink shirts – which can lead to teasing…pointing out….name calling….not being included (in photos/videos) you know, the exact things that pink shirts are supposed to help prevent…my recent “adaption” has been if you don’t have pink clothes, you’re included if you are having pink thoughts (awareness of bullying).
And of course there is then the issue of what is bullying. I’m sure we all know people who are bullied….but it’s different when they do the same behaviours….I try to put the importance on an imbalance of power – and how easy it would be for me to be a bully to students in the school as repetition of negatives can be dished out as easily as the hellos and checkins I instead do to start the day
And too easily we use Bullying as the descriptor for many other behaviours including being rude (often when we are in the Blue Zone for youZones of Regulation users) or mean or having a conflict with someone(s)
How we react is very important – so when my learner with a rage issue only swore when he could’ve easily been physical he was helping react by not making things worse (common language in my room: did your action/reaction make things better or worse —> if/when worse we need to figure out alternatives for ‘next time’)
But planning to give someone a bloody nose in ‘self defence’ tomorrow is not a reaction – it is a planned attack – which lines up with either mean or bullying behaviours!
So….a focused day has its problems. Especially for people who have been victims of true bullying (or their family members been victims). It leads to leaving schools. It enhances paranoia. It reduces trust. And it’s not always kids bullying kids – often identified “bullies” aren’t fully aware of how their actions are being interpreted…which leads to conversations about intentions vs interpretations – both can be true and be very different! So hopefully “pink day” awareness and the important steps initiated by some students in Nova Scotia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Bullying_Day simply becomes part of what we do – every day!