Many people remember being singled out for mistreatment in school, whether because they wore braces or glasses, were fat or thin, came from rich or poor families, or their skin was too dark or too light.
It is these painful memories a group of students at Sakewew High School wants to remove from the school experience with their Day of Pink campaign.
The students, joined by peers from North Battleford Comprehensive High School and John Paul II Collegiate, are asking everyone to take a stand against discrimination by wearing a pink shirt on April 13, the Day of Pink.
"The Day of Pink is more than just a symbol of shared belief in celebrating diversity. It's also a commitment to being open-minded, to being understanding of differences and learning to respect each other," read one of the four students who came to present their cause to the City of North Battleford council, March 28.
During the council meeting, the delegation of students explained the Day of Pink came into being in Nova Scotia, when a high school student was harassed and threatened with violence because he wore a pink shirt to school. A couple of students who heard what was happening decided to take a stand by buying pink shirts for them and their friends to wear to school. The word spread and the next day, hundreds of students came to school wearing pink clothes.
Robbie Tootoosis, Alyssa Benson, Pricelle Davies and Anita Petite, all Grade 12 students at Sakewew and members of the Gay-Straight Alliance, shared a number of statistics with the council members to illustrate the necessity of their cause. In Canada, one in five children are bullied and one in six gay teens are beaten so badly they require medical attention.
Although it originated as a stand against homophobia, the Day of Pink aims to eradicate all forms of bullying and discrimination, whether for a person's appearance, beliefs, sexual orientation, or social status.
Council members expressed support for the cause, including Councillor Ray Fox, who said, "As you can see, I'm no stranger to pink," pointing to his pink shirt.
The students requested that City council members show their support by wearing a pink shirt, and - just in case council members were lacking that colour in their wardrobes - distributed pink T-shirts for them to wear April 13.
They also requested that the City raise a pink flag on that day at as a public stand against discrimination and invited them to attend the event being held at Sakewew.
City council received the delegation, but tabled the decision to declare April 13 the Day of Pink and raise a flag until their next council meeting, April 11.
The four students who came to present their cause were inspired by a conference the attended in Saskatoon, March 18 and 19, called Breaking the Silence.
"We came back really inspired," said vice-principal Reid Stewart, who accompanied the four students, along with the high school liaison officer, Cst. Jennifer Lepage.