Counsellors take stand against bullying
The New Zealand Association of Counsellors is urging Kiwis to don their pink shirt this Friday (May 17) in a show of solidarity against all forms of bullying.
NZAC president, Jonathan Loan, says bullying is not just a schoolyard issue dealt with by school guidance counsellors.
"Bullying is a form of violence and there is always a victim who usually suffers greatly, often both physically and mentally. It's increasingly being recognised in the workplace, at home, on the sports field – everywhere people show intolerance, meanness and small-mindedness.
"I'm urging all of our 2,500 members to wear pink this Friday and I hope other Kiwis will join them."
Mr Loan said the aim is to show positive peer pressure.
"It sends a strong message that we will all stand together against bullying."
Mr Loan said it's particularly appropriate that Pink Shirt Day follows shortly after the passing into law of the same sex marriage legislation.
"That shows just how tolerant we are as a nation, and how much we support and celebrate diversity and value positive social relationships.
"We need to apply the same 'give everyone a go' mindset throughout our society."
The NZAC is particularly concerned about bullying towards gay, bi-sexual, lesbian and transgender teenagers. Mr Loan said it's an increasing problem for school guidance counsellors, many of whom are under-resourced.
Many teenagers in this group are victimised by their peers and adults and this makes them vulnerable to depression, self-harm and even suicide.
"The NZAC is urging Kiwis to wear their pink shirt and take a stand," Mr Loan said.
Pink Shirt Day arose from an incident involving students standing in solidarity with a fellow student who was bullied because he was wearing a pink shirt. See www.pinkshirtday.org.nz.
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