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Think Pink

Article and photos by Jared Story

You’d be hard-pressed to find a Biff Tannen, a Nelson Muntz, or any Mean Girls at Meadows West School.

On April 11, the entire Meadows West student body, decked out in pink T-shirts, gathered in the school’s gym for a Day of Pink assembly.

Day of Pink is an international anti-bullying event that originated in 2007 at Central Kings Rural High School in Cambridge, Nova Scotia. Central Kings students David Shepherd and Travis Price distributed 50 pink shirts to their fellow students after Grade 9 student Charles McNeill was bullied for wearing a pink shirt during the first day of school.

A group of Grade 4 students led Meadows West’s Day of Pink assembly, which included a video and a dramatic presentation on how to spot and stop bullying.

“At Meadows West school we are bully free,” said Sydnee, one of the students who helped lead the Day of Pink assembly.

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“Words like ‘cooperative’, ‘kindness’, ‘caring’ and ‘equality’, these are words we want everyone to experience here at our school,” said fellow student Breanne. “Today is a special day where we talk about bullying and how to make sure that it doesn’t happen at our school. It also helps us figure out the ways to stop it if we see it happening.”

The presenters led their peers in chanting the Meadows West motto: “We learn, we do our best, we treat each other with respect. We are Meadows West.”

They also recited the following school pledge:

“I promise to make sure every single person feels included and welcome. I promise to stand up for anybody who needs help and to spread kindness everywhere I go. I promise to be proud of who I am and to respect others for who they are. I promise to notice how others are feeling and to take action if they are not feeling well. It is my job to make sure everybody belongs at Meadows West School.”

Meadows West principal Roger Le Grand said yearly school surveys continually report that Meadows West is bully-free.

“I consider that an honour, to teach such caring children that demonstrate what we teach them at school,” he said.

Meadows West was one of many schools across WSD that marked the Day of Pink with assemblies and special programming. The events are part of positive behaviour programming that happens every day in schools.

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Other participating schools included Greenway (pictured, above and below), who also took the time to thank Winnipeg Police Service School Resource Officer Doug Jones, who is moving to another unit with the WPS. Cst. Jones said it was fitting to talk with students on Day of Pink, as he was bullied as a child.

“Before I came to this unit, I couldn’t get in front of people and talk like this, because I was bullied and how it made me feel,” Cst. Jones said. “But then I came here. Being with the kids, I saw how great they could be coming up in front of an audience and talking, singing and dancing…it inspired me. Being in this unit has made me a better person.”

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