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Estevan stands up to bullying

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The annual Pink Shirt Walk through downtown Estevan attracted hundreds of young people and adults.

The message from Estevan school students, community leaders and others was loud and clear: bullying is not to be tolerated.

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Estevan on April 9 for the community's annual Pink Shirt Walk. They braved blustery and dusty conditions for a round-trip walk down Fourth Street from the Estevan Court House to 13th Avenue.

While some of the walkers needed to wear jackets or sweatshirts over their pink shirts due to the cold, others had their pink shirts clearly visible.

Many of the participants carried banners and signs with such slogans as "No more bullying" and "Bully-free Me."

"The kids always enjoy it," said George Barker, the local outreach coordinator with the Canadian Red Cross' Southeast Saskatchewan Unit. "They come out, they get their pink on, and they know what they're standing up for."

The Pink Shirt Walk is one of the biggest days of the year for spreading awareness in the campaign against bullying. But for the Red Cross and other agencies that want to bring an end to bullying, it's a year-long effort.

"Treat each other with respect and acceptance, and in a way you'd want to be treated, and stop using all kinds of electronic media to push people around," said Barker.

Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division counsellor Shannon Culy was thrilled with the turnout.

"There is a lot of excitement and a lot of happy kids out there," said Culy.

Culy said the walk is a critical event to bring together the school and the community in an effort to stop bullying.

"These kids are eventually going to get older and be adults and have families of their own, so it's great to see," said Culy. "Hopefully they get this message and work to make some positive change in their future."

The Pink Shirt Walk wasn't the only activity that Holy Family was involved with as part of their anti-bullying campaign. Each of the schools in Holy Family had spirit days from April 7 to 11 to show their support for a bully-free world.

The division also brought in Travis Price as a guest speaker. It was Price who helped start the Pink Shirt crusade a few years ago when he and a friend encouraged their classmates at a Nova Scotia school to wear pink, to support a peer who had been bullied for wearing a pink shirt.

Price is to be in Estevan on Thursday, April 10.

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