Children across the Coast donned pink to make people think about the negative effects of bullying on Feb. 26.
The national anti-bullying day, also known as Pink Shirt Day, started on the Coast with a surprise flash mob on the 8:20 BC Ferries sailing out of Langdale Wednesday morning.
About 100 students and teachers from Langdale Elementary School worked on the flash mob dance for weeks before they performed for an unsuspecting audience of ferry passengers.
With Sara Bareilles' song Brave playing loudly, the students launched into their choreographed dance to cheers, smiles and applause from those on board.
Langdale principal Gregory Walters said he was very proud of his students.
"We wanted to raise awareness about Pink Shirt Day, about doing the right things, and the song by Sara Bareilles is about that to a T," Walters said. "If you look at the history of the song, I think it was written for a friend of hers who was gay, and she was encouraging him to be who he is. I think that's a big part of Pink Shirt Day."
Walters noted the old adage "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me," just isn't true.
"Words do hurt. You internalize them, and I think that's very much the message of the song. Don't let that intimidation become something that you internalize. Speak up and just be who you are. It's a really positive message for everybody," Walters said.
In an effort to share that message with students across the Coast, schools had a multitude of events planned for Wednesday.
Some elementary schools had guest speakers like Heidi Riggs, who spoke at Cedar Grove Elementary School about her experiences of being bullied in the world of dance.
Later that day, Cedar Grove students also enjoyed a dance performance to the spoken word poem by Shane Koyczan titled To This Day, which is about experiencing bullying.
Students at Kinnikinnick Elementary, Gibsons Elementary and Roberts Creek Elementary schools also enjoyed a similar dance presentation.
High schools celebrated Pink Shirt Day with posters and initiatives like Elphinstone Secondary's wall of compliments where students were encouraged to post a positive comment for a fellow student.
At Pender Harbour Secondary, students promoted what they call "the Pender way" on Wednesday.
One teacher described it as being accepting of people for who they are no matter how they dress or act and he noted, "there's not a lot of bullying here," due to the daily attitude of acceptance promoted at the school.
In that same "Pender way" spirit, students at Madeira Park Elementary School decided to do their own thing for Pink Shirt Day, creating unique tie-dyed shirts to wear, with the help of artists Keith and Natalie Wilson. One student was overheard saying "our shirts are colourful and unique, just like us."
Find out more about how to combat bullying at www.erasebullying.ca.
© Coast Reporter