Travis Price and David (DJ) Shepherd, two Grade 12 students at Central Kings (CK) Rural High School in Cambridge, Nova Scotia heard about a Grade 9 student who was allegedly harassed, threatened and taunted with homophobic epithets by some older students because he chose to wear a pink shirt on the first day of school. The two decided to take matters into their own hands.
Here is what they told Xtra in a recent phone interview:
Travis Price: A kid got bullied for wearing the pink polo shirt and the next day me and DJ heard about it. I was totally against [the bullying]. The kid isn’t even homosexual. He just decided to wear a pink polo shirt and he got picked on for it.
DJ went out that night and bought a bunch of pink shirts. DJ [told me] what he did and I was amazed that he was going to [hand the shirts out to students]. I totally agreed with him and stuff like that so I stepped right into it next to his side.
We handed [the pink shirts] out at school the next morning. We ran out so I went out and bought 25 more. It was a pink day at CK that’s for sure. All [the students] wore pink and stuff like that. It was crazy. It was mayhem.
DJ Shepherd: I’m definitely hoping it will [help to stop bullying]. It’s hard to say really. It all depends on if schools will stand behind the leaders who decide to speak up and do something. It just so happened that we have a very supportive student body and that’s what made it work.
I think he’s going to wear his pink shirt again, and I don’t think anyone’s going to say nothing.
TP: Me and DJ spoke with him a couple times. I asked how he felt about [what we did] and stuff like that and the only issue he had is that around here and on the news they’ve been saying, you know, that two kids have been standing up against bullying and protecting homosexuality. The kids were perceiving him to be gay, but he’s not. He’s just a kid who decided to wear a pink shirt and got bullied and look what happened.
Some of the stations have been making it out to be a gay issue, but it’s definitely a bullying issue and not so much of a sexuality kind of one.
DS: It’s about bullying but it doesn’t matter what clothes you wear or your sexuality.
TP: We’ve had emails from all across the world; CBC national and CBC local. CBS is apparently trying to get ahold of us. There’s been quite a few things.
DS: It’s actually kind of stressful.
Inspired by the actions of the two students, Nova Scotia’s government has declared the second Thursday of every school year as Stand Up Against Bullying Day. Students will be encouraged to wear pink to spread the anti-bullying message.