The event was put together by a committee of faculty, administration, support staff and students and staff from the LSU and included a panel of speakers, plus information booths and prizes.
Student Engagement Officer, Reba Noel, who coordinated the event, said the decision to have it at Langara came after the dean of student services was asked what the school was doing to address the issue. Members of the committee had talked about it before and expressed an interest in working on something to really localize the issue.
Speakers included Vancouver Police Department Const. Ryan Hooper, Michele Bowers from Langara’s counseling department, Human Rights Coordinator Linda Sum and Maggie Ross, manager of Student Conduct and Judicial Affairs. Speakers talked about the major concerns surrounding bullying, including how to recognize it and help stop it.
Ross said that these anti-bullying events are about “trying to make a difference and educating our students.”
Staff members from human resources were there to talk about what a safe and respectful work place should look like, as many students have part time jobs. There was also a video booth where students and staff could be recorded reading out a pledge to end bullying.
Noel said that she preferred calling it bullying awareness instead of anti-bullying because “in addition to not wanting people to bully, we also want to make people aware of what bullying looks like.”
Various speakers were featured to “help people understand where bullying can cross the line from being aggressive, to being a bully, to being criminal and to being human rights infringement,” explained Noel.
Bullying is still a problem for post-secondary students
She said that while bullying can be more obvious in high schools with schoolyard fights, the signs are less evident in college.
“Somebody may be doing something without even realizing that they’re being a bully, it may not be intentional,” said Noel. “Maybe I’m being bullied and I’ve never really realized it before; maybe I’m a bully and I didn’t mean to be. And maybe I’ve just got to change my behaviour.”
National Pink Shirt Day started in 2008 and after the recent Amanda Todd tragedy, people have started to take notice of the dangerous effects of bullying.
“It’s tragic what happened to her [Todd], but out of that tragedy has come at least some willingness to have a conversation about it and take it more seriously,” said Maggie Ross. “If we can say ever that something good came out of a tragedy, this is it.”
Reported by Kristen Harpula
Watch: Pink Shirt Day PSA