School Sports Teams Don Antibullying Message

first_imgChad Samson’s hoop dream is bigger than sinking the game-winning basket against an arch-rival team. The 15-year-old Bible Hill Junior High basketball player is also looking to score points against a more menacing opponent — school bullies. The Grade 9 student is teaming up with other student athletes, the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation (NSSAF) and the Department of Education to take the anti-bullying message to sports fields, school gyms and hockey arenas across the province. The message will be on a crest displayed on team uniforms. Modelled after the stop sign on the back of minor hockey jerseys, the pink crest will be in the shape of a stop sign with a strike through the word Bully. “I think this is a great way to get the message out that bullying has no place in our schools,” said Mr. Samson, who also plays on school soccer and badminton teams. “Every time we play a game, people will get the message. They won’t miss it.” Education Minister Karen Casey said she is pleased to see students and the NSSAF take an active role promoting respect within member schools and communities. “Putting a stop to bullying really is a team effort in more ways than one,” said Ms. Casey. “We all need to work together to address the issue, and this kind of campaign is a good example of what can be done to promote safe and respectful learning environments.” The crest, available in English and French, is the idea of Bible Hill Junior High guidance counsellor and coach Eric Boutilier. He was inspired by Central Kings Rural High School students Travis Price and David Shepherd, who last year launched the pink T-shirt campaign in support of a student, teased for wearing a pink shirt on his first day at his new school. The symbol of the pink t-shirt struck a chord with students from coast to coast, and made news around North America. “When I saw what Travis and David did to raise awareness, I and many of my students thought, what else can we do to help keep the message alive?” said Mr. Boutilier. “Student athletes are positive role models in many of our schools. They set an example for others, so what better way to get the message out than to display it on their uniforms?” Ms. Casey and the NSSAF, agreed to support Mr. Boutilier’s idea. Tom Fahie, executive director of the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation, expects the anti-bullying message will be well-received by schools participating in interscholastic sports. “We have almost 40,000 students at 182 schools playing 19 school sports in front of thousands of fans, parents and students every year. That represents a lot of people in stands or on the sidelines getting a very, very powerful message,” said Mr. Fahie. The crests will be available to participating NSSAF schools, as well as elementary schools, through the Department of Education Book Bureau later this spring. The Nova Scotia Teachers Union also recently endorsed the anti-bullying crest.last_img

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