March 1, 2019 Message to Members

Pink Shirt Day

This week in our schools, the hallways were awash with a sea of pink in every shade imaginable, colouring shirts, jackets, scarves and sweaters, and even painting cheeks and foreheads with hearts and positive messages. It’s a perfect example of everyone pulling in the same direction but doing it in hundreds of diverse ways.

From a simple act – a high school protest in small-town Nova Scotia, calling out the bullying endured by a grade 9 boy – Pink Shirt Day has made its mark in more than 180 countries.

There is a lot that we can take away from the initial stand made by two teenage boys and their group of friends. First, there is kindness and a recognition that sometimes everyone needs a hand. There is courage, to move beyond being a bystander, to speak up and to act. And there is compassion, and the ability to understand and respond to the isolation and lack of control that people can feel, then engaging to take action.

As Principals and Vice-Principals, those are strengths that we draw upon every day in our work. It’s important that we have the pulse of the social and emotional climate in our schools, and that we are able to balance the fundamentals of our practice with a sense of compassionate leadership and recognition of the many levels of support that we need to provide for students, teachers and staff. It can be as simple as being able to greet students by name, or to be onsite at the big game. It’s often the small acts that let the school community know that you are there, that you are present and that you care. We often refer to these little acts as positive school culture builders.

I hope that Pink Shirt Day brought your school together, and maybe inspired some new projects or innovations. Please let me know! I’d love to share what you’re doing in your schools.

Take Care,

David