McBride Annex Students Think Pink for Anti-Bullying Play

Vice principal James Chamberlain's Grade 2 and 3 students, who all belong to the Kids Helping Kids club, put on a show that has received rave reviews from parents and students. 

"All the emails I've received in response have been very positive," says Chamberlain. "We only practised for four days but the students memorized their lines and away they went!" 

The production, titled Day of Pink, is about a young student named Mike who chooses to wear a pink shirt to school. Bullied by a pair of students for his choice in attire, Mike tries to stand up for himself, but is shouted down.Three other students witness the bullying and quickly organize their friends to all wear pink at school the next day. 

That's when 200 kids show up to school wearing pink shirts, supporting Mike and standing up to the bullies. The three students then report the incident to their principal. 

The play, which mirrors the events that led to Pink Day, was initially written and performed last year. This year, students in the club expanded on the play, with three student authors contributing to the script. 

Pink Shirt Day began in 2007 after two Nova Scotia high-school students stood up for a grade nine student who was being bullied for his pink shirt. David Shepherd, Travis Price and their high-school friends wore pink shirts on the first day of school to show their support for the student.  

"The focus for this play was to teach our students about the true origins for the day, the harms of homophobia and how anyone can wear pink," says Chamberlain. "Our students all know that no one should be called gay in a mean and hurtful way. They are also fully aware that it is okay to be gay or lesbian. "

After the performance, he read the students a letter of encouragement addressed to them by Travis Pierce. 

Chamberlain, who teaches students self-regulation and mindfulness, touts McBride Annex's culture as one of inclusion. He says that if children face challenges, they're taught to deal with them in a mature manner. 

"They're sweet to each other out on the playground. I had maybe three kids telltale on someone else last year," laughs Chamberlain. "The kids are really forthcoming with their teachers if they're having challenges with each other."

"I've taught the Grade 2's and 3's all about being good friends, what it means and what it looks like," says Chamberlain. "They're really good role-models for the younger students."

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