Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tipingee and Boys Wear Pink

The legend of the King  of Denmark and the Yellow Star has long been a favorite of mine. And I was delighted to find an authentic, but soon to be legendary example of that kind of creative response to bullying in Boys Wear Pink  written about here at Parent Dish by Peter Sinasohn: Students wear pink to fight bullies:
Seniors David Shepherd and Travis Price decided it had to stop. Using the internet, they encouraged fellow students to wear pink the next day and even bought 75 pink tank tops for boys to wear. They also brought a pink basketball and pink material to make headbands and arm bands. They estimate that half of the school's 830 students wore pink.

It seemed to get the message across. "The bullies got angry," said Travis. "One guy was throwing chairs (in the cafeteria). We're glad we got the response we wanted." The bullies, he says, "keep giving us dirty looks, but we know we have the support of the whole student body. Kids don't need this in their lives, worrying about what to wear to school. That should be the last thing on their minds."

David explained their motivation: "Our intention was to stand up for this kid so he doesn't get picked on." When one of the bullies asked him if he knew that wearing pink indicated homosexuality, he told him that he didn't care and that neither should anyone else. "Something like the colour of your shirt or pants, that's ridiculous," he said.

When the student that had been bullied put on one of the pink shirts and saw all the other pink, "he was all smiles," David said. "It was like a big weight had been lifted off his shoulders."
After hearing the tragic stories coming from Western Mass about students being bullied to death, I wanted to do something - but what?  It is not enough but "something" clicked when I heard storyteller Tony Toledo and Sharon Kennedy tell the story of Tipingee and her friends  - a story from Haiti.  So this summer I have been combining the story of Tipingee with the real life story of Travis and David from Nova Scotia  and it has been wonderful to see the wheels turning in the heads of 5,6,7, 8, 9 and 10 year olds and their young adult counselors.

A typical response from an 8 year old boy in a camp for kids with "issues"  He said, in answer to my question "What did you notice about the two stories?"  "Well that just shows that violence doesn't work." Another girl said, "They used their brains to help their friends."  Have to love the power of story to get a point across and even teach some strategy too.

Here is Diane Wolkstein's version from youtube

followed by my interpretation  a clip from a digital story video


Anonymous said...

Powerful timeless story. I love what I saw of the Norah Dooley's version I want more.
ML Grimaldi

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant piece.
Thanks for sharing and what a great idea to combine the two.