Premier David Eby, and Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care, have released the following statement to mark Pink Shirt Day:
“Today marks the 16th anniversary of Pink Shirt Day, a day where we join together as a province to celebrate diversity, belonging and empowerment.
“Our government is committed to ensuring that British Columbians of all backgrounds feel safe and respected. The well-being and safety of students and staff in our K-12 education system is a top priority.
“We are committed to making sure our schools are places where children of all sexual orientations, gender identities (SOGI) and gender expressions, feel safe, accepted and respected.
“We stand united in our commitment to continue working with all education partners to provide students, staff and families with inclusive school learning environments where everyone feels a strong sense of belonging.
“B.C.’s K-12 curriculum includes a focus on valuing diversity and respecting differences. Our Erase (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) website focuses on learning how to respond to incidents of discrimination, bullying, cyberbullying and gender-based violence. These resources are available to all students, parents, caregivers, schools and the wider community.
“We have many incredible partners in our work to ensure all children feel valued and safe to be their authentic selves at school. Thank you to the BC School Trustees Association, BC School Superintendents Association, BC Association of School Business Officials, BC Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association, BC Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Union of Public Employees BC, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, Federation of Independent School Associations, First Nations Education Steering Committee, First Nations Schools Association and Métis Nation BC.
“We are also thankful for partners such as ARC Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of young British Columbians of all sexual orientations and gender identities. ARC is a recognized innovator in SOGI-inclusive education, a key pillar of the Erase strategy. The foundation’s mission is to foster awareness, respect and capacity through SOGI-inclusive K-12 education to reduce 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination in schools.
“Carol Todd, the founder of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society and a digital literacy educator in the Coquitlam School District (SD43), is a powerful example of one person making a big difference for students around the world. Carol became an advocate over a decade ago, when her daughter Amanda tragically died by suicide in 2012. Because of this, Carol aims to create awareness and prevent bullying and cyberbullying, exploitation and ‘sextortion.’ The Amanda Todd Legacy Society continues to grow with a strong focus on resources and education to encourage positivity, mental health and wellness, and digital safety with online safety.”
“Thank you to ARC, Carol Todd and all our partners for their continued efforts to support youth throughout our province.
“Together, we are creating welcoming schools for our students – places where everyone can be free to be themselves while learning, developing and thriving.
“We encourage you to spread positive messages of inspiration and share words of kindness this Pink Shirt Day, using the social media hashtags: #PinkShirtDay, #LiftEachOtherUp and #erasebullying.”
Find Erase resources online: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/erase
To report bullying, visit: https://erasereportit.gov.bc.ca/