Travis Price, whose random act of kindness started the Pink Shirt Day movement, was in Royston to speak to schoolchildren on Friday, Feb. 28. Many of the students from Royston Elementary wore pink shirts to school specifically for the presentation. Photo by Terry Farrell

Co-creator of Pink Shirt Day visits Comox Valley schools

Travis Price, one of the people whose simple act of kindness started a worldwide movement known as Pink Shirt Day, was in the Comox Valley Friday, spreading the word of acceptance to local schoolchildren.

Pink Shirt Day originated in Nova Scotia in 2007, after a ninth-grader was bullied for wearing a pink t-shirt to school on the first day of that school year.

Two Grade 12 students from the same school – Price, and David Shepherd – heard about the bullying incident and took it upon themselves to stand up for the younger student.

They bought dozens of pink shirts to distribute, went online to advise their classmates of their intentions, and the next day, the school turned into a veritable “sea of pink” by students, who had decided enough was enough and it was time to take a stand against bullying.

Since that fateful day, Anti-Bullying/Pink T-Shirt Day has become a worldwide phenomenon.

All schools in the district received an invitation to have Price speak, on behalf of the WITS Foundation. WITS, which stands for Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out and Seek help, was created in West Coast schools where teachers began coaching students to “use their WITS.” The concept was quickly adopted by many other schools, and “using your WITS” became a common phrase in Canada.

ALSO: Province promotes Pink Shirt Day

When Royston Elementary School principal Katy Doran received word that Price was touring B.C. and available for a presentation, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I mentioned that I have worked with Travis’ cousin, Tiffany Price, a teacher in our school district,” said Doran. “I then asked for another school to host Travis so he would make the trip up-Island and Cumberland Community School accepted my invitation.”

Royston school began preparing for Price’s visit one day early.

“The Grade 6s at Royston Elementary School performed a play/re-enactment of what happened in Cambridge Nova Scotia in 2007 which precipitated Pink Shirt Day for the entire school on Thursday,” said Doran.

On Friday, many of the students wore pink to welcome Price.

“It’s overwhelming to see what this has become,” Price said, after his Royston presentation. “To see 132 countries around the world participate somehow. It was such a small idea, just to try to help one person. To see it grow into an international symbol for anti-bullying … it blows my mind that something so simple was able to change the world.”

He said the most gratifying part of his life these days is the reaction he gets from the young students.

“Just the response from these kids, seeing the difference that we can make, that my actions were able to make… to know that perhaps some of the message I am giving has taught them empathy, has taught them to be better humans.”

Price said dealing with children has always been a focus of his. He entered Grade 12 with thoughts of pursuing a teaching career.

“I look back now and I think, this is where I was always supposed to be. As much as I would have loved to be in a classroom teaching all these years I think for me, this is my classroom – these gyms all across Canada.”

He said he never had visions of this movement growing to where it is, and has no idea how long he will continue to promote Pink Shirt day and anti-bullying initiatives.

“That’s the million-dollar question, the question I have been asked the most, recently,” he said. “I am 30 next week and I have been doing this for almost 13 years now… I know that I am getting tired, but at the same time, these kids reinvigorate me, so it’s hard to walk away. But hopefully, when that day comes I will be able to look back and say I was able to do some really amazing things and able to help a lot of people.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Comox ValleyPink Shirt Day

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Travis Price spoke to a packed gymnasium at Royston Elementary School Friday, Feb. 28. Photo by Terry Farrell

Just Posted

Comox Valley Farmers’ Market set for online shopping

An online store will complement the market and is set to start taking orders soon.

Comox Valley centre offering free online meditation and mindfulness teachings

The Comox Valley has a well-kept secret in the Sherab Chamma Tibetan… Continue reading

Comox Valley Food Bank set to reopen

The organization closed last week due to concerns around COVID-19

VIDEO: Courtenay residential community offers nightly balcony salute to frontline workers

Residents of The Tides in Courtenay gathered, social distancing intact, to salute… Continue reading

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Comox Valley grocers going extra mile during coronavirus

We have had numerous requests to post a fluid article directing consumers… Continue reading

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Duncan man asks community to donate RVs to essential workers in need of quarantine

Ryan Oakley creates a Facebook group to help coordinate the effort

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Most Read