Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What I Love About Day of Pink

This is my third year organizing, or helping to organize, an event for International Day of Pink at school. I always end up having a really great time, and my co-workers, students and parents seem to like it also. Our efforts this year were a little more low-key because we have other projects that we're working on through our GSA, as well other student groups and committees. 

Kids, parents and staff were invited to show up in pink and talk about the things we can do to make our school a safer and more caring place to be. There's always some drama floating around on social media or the blogosphere about how this is really some covert exercise by #BigGay or the #Gaystapo to covertly indoctrinate children into the "gay lifestyle" by "normalizing homosexuality."  

This cracks me up for a couple reasons:
  1. It's really hard to be covert when you're dressed in pink.
  2. To normalize something, it would first have to be abnormal.
Besides which, when you start to engage with young students in a discussion of bullying or teasing, best of luck in trying to dictate the parameters. They talk about stuff I never thought of, like a kid I knew once who wanted to stick up for people who stutter. Younger kids don't really see one form of discrimination as being lesser or greater than another. It's all about empathy and fair play for them.

So these pink days always give me a great memory. And here's today's:

My good friend Marie-Claire walked her class over to me for PE this morning. She's fun and really together. Not coincidentally, I suppose, Marie-Claire is a French Immersion homeroom teacher. So she's got a job that matches her name.

That's what I mean by together.

Her students were all in pink, and so was she. When we stepped aside for a photo, which one of her kids kindly took, she told me about a boy in her class. He was over the moon because it was pink day, and he was wearing his favourite pink shirt.

It was a really cool shirt. So I asked him later if he would like to take a photo together, and I would get Mme La Flaire to send it to his folks.

Within an hour, I get an email on my phone -- from the boy's parents. Madame had sent the photo off to them along with an amazing message about he had helped the class in its resolve to respect what people wear or like or do, and to be themselves. Parents were thrilled.

Mission accomplished.

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