Editor: School spirit day should be about getting all kids to feel unified in their school — one colour worn by all, crazy hair day or hat day. Twin day is not a unifying event. In fact, asking the children to pick a twin so they can then dress the same that day is an event that tears the unity apart and creates cliques.
Recently, my child tried to find a “twin.” Her whole day was filled with this. She was denied by all she asked. She witnessed others making plans, she saw others pair up.
At Twin day, she will see a very visual representation of her feelings, and that will last all day. She is alone, not included, different. She is bullied daily for her differences.
Her small start in life, being born almost a full 16 weeks early, has left a mark on her. This mark is picked at daily by her peers. Often even adults in the school don’t understand and respect her challenges.
I am horrified that in a time when the push is to “stop bullying,” the school sets up a day that creates an opportunity to make struggling children stand out even more.
I watch my child struggle daily. Everything average children do without thought requires practice and assistance for my child. We work hard to do simple things. It took her years to learn how to hold scissors, throw a ball and even walk like an average child.
This year she is in class with a child who tormented her two years ago. This child had my then six-year-old begging to not go to school. In this class, my child struggles and yet keeps smiling. However, she cried because the adults who planned this school spirit day didn’t even think of children like her.
“Stop bullying” starts when we adults start thinking about how we can help these children who struggle, those at risk of being bullied and those who are already being attacked. They can sell all the anti-bullying T-shirts they want, but until the mindset changes we will have a problem.
Parent at Douglas Park Community School (Name withheld by request)