It started with one boy wearing a pink polo shirt on the first day of school. He was harassed with homophobic slurs and threatened with assault by a group of six to 10 older students who mocked him for wearing pink. But two classmates watching the display of homophobia decided to take action in a provocative – and inspirational – way.
David Shepherd and Travis Price went to a discount store and purchased pink clothing to wear to school, then emailed all their friends – asking them to do the same.
“It’s my last year. I’ve stood around too long and I wanted to do something,” said David.
The young activists also brought a pink basketball to school as well as pink material for headbands and arm bands. They named the cause “a sea of pink”, and the next day hundreds of students were seen wearing pink clothes.
Indicating a gesture of true support, no one at the school will divulge the name of the bullied student.
The school principal is proud of the solidarity.
“You’re always hearing about the youth of the world and how bad things are. Well, they’re not that bad,” said head administrator Stephen Pearl.
Now the story is spreading to other parts of the world. Online discussion groups across the continent are sharing the information and e-mails have been sent from many parts of the U.S. – as well as from Bermuda, Norway and Switzerland. The boys have already been on local TV and radio stations and a Montreal talk-radio station. They also have an interview request from a station in Ontario. Spain’s largest newspaper has shown interest, and Ellen DeGeneres has mentioned the incident on her talk show. Premier Rodney MacDonald faxed a letter of commendation to the school.
To keep the spirit of tolerance alive, Travis and David are writing a proposal to the regional school board for an elementary school program that would address the damage caused by bullying.