Lots of fun – with a serious message

Toby Robinson, Year 8, gets amongst the pink-themed games at Mount Hutt College yesterday.
Photos Katie Todd

As the lunch bell rang yesterday afternoon Mount Hutt College students dived into a veritable feast of all things pink: from nail painting to pink pancakes to water pong with pink cups.

The college was among a number of local schools and organisations celebrating Pink Shirt Day yesterday as part of National Bullying-Free Week.

The activities were organised by the college’s Student Welfare Committee and Peer Support Group, who put the proceeds of their pink pancake sales towards the Bullying Prevention Advisory Group (BPAG) said Youth Mentor Wendy Keepa.

She said the college had celebrated the event in the past, but this was the biggest and busiest Pink Shirt Day yet.

“It’s just about having a bit of fun,” she said.

Mayfield School, Borough School and Base youth were also among those partaking, donning pinks shirts and spreading kindness like confetti.

The annual event, organised by the BPAG and the Mental Health Foundation, sees schools running classroom activities to get students talking about bullying, and reviewing their anti-bullying policies.

This year’s theme is Let’s Talk About It, acknowledging that children and young people can find it difficult to open up to adults about bullying.

“Bullying can have serious and ongoing impacts on our mental health and wellbeing.

“We know that people who are bullied are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and avoid going to school,” Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive Shaun Robinson said.

“Pink Shirt Day is a reminder that small actions lead to larger actions that create positive change where we live, work and play.”

Over 1000 schools and 850 workplaces signed up to take part around the country – more than double the number that got involved last year.

Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two teenagers took a stand against homophobic bullying, mobilising their whole school, after a fellow student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt.

– By Katie Todd