‘Don’t be afraid to speak up’: Fort Simpson teen speaks against bullying on Pink Shirt Day

Community health fair in Fort Simpson, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Roslyn Firth)

Students nation-wide are wearing pink today to raise awareness on the effects of bullying.

The motto “Keep in mind to be kind” has echoed across the community of Fort Simpson, since 2017.

Ethan Norwegian is a 14-year-old boy at Líídlįį Kúę Regional High School.

He says bullying happens everywhere and that it’s important to speak up.

Pink Shirt Day is important because it reminds people “to be nice once in a while.”

“Don’t be afraid to speak up to a teacher or adult, let them know what’s going on,” he says.

Norwegian says some students feel “scared or pressured” by their bully not to speak out and seek help.

Otherwise, they fear being in even greater trouble.

Norwegian wants to remind his peers just to be nice, give compliments and ignore the bully.

Community initiative

According to Roslyn Firth, wellness coordinator for Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation (LKFN), the band office is prepared to have a shirt for all community members—roughly 1,200 people.

Due to COVID-19, schools in the North won’t be able to hold assemblies or raise awareness the same way they used to.

“If you’re keeping in mind to be kind, then there’ll be much fewer issues in the entire world,” says Will Magno, principal of Líídlįį Kúę Regional High School.

This is more than a school initiative, it’s community-wide, he adds.

Magno has been working at the school for three years; every year he says it’s great seeing the community all come out and wear pink in support of this day.

Magno says the Dehcho Divisional Education Council (DDEC) is in the early stages of creating a new wellness initiative at the schools, supporting a holistic approach to wellness.

“When we see bullying, we need to speak up; and when we are being a bully, we must reflect on our actions and seek ways to do better,” says R.J. Simpson,  minister of Education, Culture and Employment.

“We all share a responsibility of ensuring that our communities and schools are safe spaces.”

Pink Shirt Day, every day

Pink Shirt Day came early for some schools in the N.W.T.

Princess Alexandra School, Harry Camsell School and Diamond Jenness Secondary School in Hay River celebrated Pink Shirt Day on Feb. 22.

Pink Shirt Day originated in Nova Scotia and has been acknowledged nationally since 2007.

About the Author

Mariah Caruso
Mariah Caruso is a digital journalist, originally from Toronto, Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Hons. Bachelor of Arts and completed her Journalism post-grad at Sheridan College. She has an insatiable appetite for life, storytelling, connecting to the people, and getting to the heart of the issue. Mariah is excited to begin her journey and career in Yellowknife, NWT, and get involved with the community. If you have a story idea, feel free to send her an email at mariah.caruso@cklbradio.com