by Paul Rignell
It was no coincidence Nov. 10 when seemingly most of the girls and also a large number of the boys in the student body at VandenBerge Middle School in Elk River were wearing pink in some fashion.
Word had been milling through the halls for two weeks, said Principal Marcia Welch, that students were encouraging others to wear any pink that day.
The school’s seventh-grade students, earlier this fall, had welcomed Assistant Sherburne County Attorney Victoria Powell for a presentation on bullying prevention. She shared with them a story from 2007, when a boy in Nova Scotia, Canada, was bullied by some freshman classmates for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of a new school year.
Some senior boys at that school were disgusted to hear of the taunting, and bought up and brought pink shirts to school the following day to distribute among other supportive students.
VandenBerge students were inspired by the story to set a day for wearing pink in their school. Primarily they encouraged one another to find and pull pink shirts from their wardrobes for Nov. 10, but many also came with pink headbands, pink armbands and other pink apparel to show support for the fight against bullying. They were joined in thinking pink by many teachers and other staff.
“I was impressed with the number of students and staff that took it seriously,” said Welch.