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Pink Shirt Day is a global phenomenon designed to help celebrate diversity and prevent bullying. In New Zealand, the annual event focuses on developing inclusive schools, workplaces and communities, where everyone feels safe, valued and respected.
ACG Parnell College is a firm supporter of this worthy cause, and School Counsellor Lexi Tetenburg took the opportunity to speak about the consequences of bullying with Primary students. Violet Lindsay Smail and Teresa Yang, from the Year 6 cohort, have shared the following messages about Pink Shirt Day and explain what this event has shown them.
“Pink Shirt Day is a time to speak up and stand together against bullying. We were lucky enough to have Lexi, our School Counsellor at ACG, come to talk to the Primary School about how to stand up to bullies and the real meaning of Pink Shirt Day. This was an important learning experience for all of us to have to use at any age.
“Lexi showed us how the words we use can affect our feelings. She demonstrated this with a sheet of paper, as she asked us to say rude and mean phrases about the paper. Each time someone said something rude, the paper would crumble and tear apart. It eventually turned into a crumpled ball.
“Lexi then asked us to apologise to it. The paper soon returned to its [original] shape but with cuts, rips and tears all throughout the paper. This is because even though we apologised, it won’t be the same as before. It is vital to choose the right words.
“Another lesson she explained is the difference between a bystander and an upstander. A bystander is someone who sees the bullying but doesn’t have the courage to speak up about what they saw. An upstander is someone who takes action against verbal or physical bullying.
“For example, a way to intercede with bullying is to distract the bully. Lexi showed us that this could be anything – you could even distract them by talking about the weather and then walking away from the situation. If you can choose between being an upstander or a bystander – be an upstander. Over 50% of bullying is stopped by speaking to the bully about what they said.
“The important life lesson that we learnt from Lexi is something that we will be able to apply in our everyday lives. We are very grateful to have learned to speak up and stand together.”