A Message from Alberta Education Minister Gordon Dirks on Pink Shirt Day

As you may know, Pink Shirt Day originated in Nova Scotia in 2007 when a Grade 9 student was bullied by other students for wearing a pink polo shirt to school.  In response, hundreds of students showed up the following morning wearing pink both as a way to support the student and to demonstrate that bullying behaviours cannot be tolerated.  This annual event is now celebrated across Canada and in other countries.

I encourage those learning, working and volunteering in your school authority to participate in Pink Shirt Day on February 25, 2015 by wearing pink and tweeting photos using the hashtag #AlbertaPink.  I also encourage discussion and display of the Pink Shirt Day infographic, which is posted in a variety of formats at http://safeandcaring.ca/pink-shirt-day-2015-february-25/.  The infographic was co-developed by the Government of Alberta; the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services – University of Alberta; The Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities; and ATB Financial as a means of demonstrating solidarity against bullying.  If you would like a printed copy, please contact the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at 780‑492-0772 or iSMSS@ualberta.ca.

Government recently released Alberta’s Plan for Promoting Healthy Relationships and Preventing Bullying, which takes a comprehensive approach to promoting healthy relationships across the lifespan and everywhere Albertans live, learn, work and play.  It supports collaboration among educators, employers, families and community organizations.  The plan addresses necessary shifts in attitudes and behaviours toward bullying by focusing on prevention, awareness, engagement, responsibility and accountability.  If you have not already done so, I encourage you to review the plan and to share it with others in your school authority and community.  Information and strategies for promoting healthy relationships and preventing bullying is posted at www.education.alberta.ca/admin/supportingstudent/safeschools.aspx.

Everyone has a role to play in preventing bullying and creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments.  By working together, we can stop bullying in Alberta’s schools and communities.


Gordon Dirks


MLA, Calgary – Elbow