A Calgary dad says teachers and school administrators need to intervene more quickly and decisively when it comes to bullying.
Wednesday is Pink Shirt Day across Canada, a day devoted to spreading an anti-bullying message.
Wayne Frisch's nine-year-old daughter underwent months of bullying when she was in Grade 4, he said.
"For a parent, you feel like you failed, you feel like you can't defend your kid," Frisch said. "It started with just one or two girls and then it became a group and then it became the entire Grade 4 group of girls and it just got to a point where she couldn't push back — she couldn't defend herself."
When he reported the taunting and abuse to school administrators last year, he was told there was an anti-bullying policy. And yet nothing was done, he said.
"I think that is the big thing … you can talk about it, but if there's no action taken, if the kid comes up to the teacher and says ‘Look this kid is bullying me’ and the kid is dismissed … that can have grave consequences," he said.
Frisch moved his daughter to another school, where she now enjoys a bully-free environment.
"She comes home every day with a smile, she has good things to say and she's made friends," Frisch explained.
He wants other schools to stand behind their anti-bullying policies.
Calgary schools on board
Pink Shirt Day is an anti-bullying campaign that was started by David Shepherd and Travis Price, two students in Nova Scotia who rallied to support a Grade 9 student who had been tormented for wearing a pink T-shirt to class.
Meanwhile, several schools across Calgary honoured the event.
A sea of pink moved through John G Diefenbaker High School as a symbol of students trying to put a stop to the bullying that sometimes happens in the halls.
"A lot of people end up swearing at someone and calling them like fat and saying, ‘You're not good for us, you can't hang out with us,’ and stuff like that," explained student Sabrina Dhillon.
Fellow student Lisa Chen says the issue is still present, but it is getting better.
"There are still words maybe that are used — more of a verbal issue than a physical, but it's gotten a lot better," Chen says.
Student Serena Tejpar agrees and says wearing a pink T-shirt is a starting point.
"It won't stop it, but it's a way to create awareness and just like let those who are being bullied know, you know, that there is other people who are there to help them and that they're not alone," Teijpar said.