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Editorial: Anti-bullying action should be a year-round effort

It is inspiring to see the community joined together against bullying, but the message of Pink Shirt Day is one we need to honour year-round.
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Since 2007 Canadians have been honouring Pink Shirt Day— A symbolic event meant to inspire youth, parents and communities to stand united against bullying.

People will be clad in pink T-shirts on Wednesday (Feb. 24) unified in the message that any type of bullying is unacceptable.

It is inspiring to see the community joined together in anti-bullying action, but the message of Pink Shirt Day is one we need to honour year-round.

The need to speak out against bullying remains at pertinent today as it was 14 years ago.

This problem needs to be taken seriously in all its forms be it physical, verbal, psychological or emotional. The scars of those who experience these acts of aggression can last a lifetime.

The conversation surrounding anti-bullying has transformed since 2007 and it can be tempting to believe the issue is no longer as relevant as it once was.

However, we still have a long way to go.

Bullying remains an ongoing issue in schools, and in spaces beyond the classroom.

Despite all the publicity and programs that have emerged since the inaugural Pink Shirt Day, bullying remains a problem youth experience each and every day.

According to bullyingcanada.ca in Canada, 33 per cent of adolescent students have reported being bullied, and about half of Canadian parents have reported having a child who is the victim of bullying.

Studies have shown bullying occurs once every seven minutes on the playground and once every 25 minutes in the classroom.

Youth and adults can no longer afford to look away when they witness bullying.

These statistics are heartbreaking, but there is hope.

In the majority of cases, bullying ends within 10 seconds when peers intervene or do not support the bullying behaviour.

When you witness bullies do not stand by and watch— Be aware and even angry at the action and push people to be better.

Respond to these acts of aggression with acts of kindness and empathy.

We have a long way to go in creating a bullying-free world and Pink Shirt Day is only one day of the year.

We can all choose acts of kindness year-round to show being warm hearted is valued and celebrated.

The key to helping to solve bullying problems is acting together to create long-term solutions that can transform our culture.

Standing united, we need to pay attention to bullying and make it clear that is no longer acceptable to verbally or physically abuse another person.

We can and should do better because as long as bullying is met with silence, bullies hold the power.