The founder of the Pink Shirt movement visited a Montreal North elementary school on Wednesday morning to spread his anti-bullying message.

Travis Price told students at Gerald McShane Elementary that while bullying is a problem in classrooms, it can be just as troublesome out of them due to cyber-bullying on social media.

The pervasiveness of online life means that students can’t escape the bullying, which makes it even more important to stop the culture of bullying before it can spread, he said.

Travis Price co-founded Pink Shirt Day in 2007, when, as teenagers, they organized some friends to wear pink shirts in support of a classmate who had been bullied for wearing one. Since then, the event has gone global, having raised almost $2 million For organizations like the Kids Help Phone line, the KidSafe Project and the Red Cross Canada.  

An estimated one out of five kids in Canada will experience bullying or some other form of intimidation. According to the RCMP, kids perpetrate bullying are 37 per cent more likely to commit criminal offences as adults while the victims can be at elevated risk of depression.

Price said that in 90 per cent of cases when a bystander intervenes, the bullying incident will end in 10 seconds.

“Kids are still definitely verbal bullying in school but the physical side of it has really gone away because they know they’ll get in trouble over that,” said Price. “But cyber-bullying, they don’t necessarily think there will be repercussions. Our core foundation has stayed the same, we want kids to make a difference in one person’s life, whether that’s here or online.”

Price is scheduled to visit six English Montreal School Board schools to address bullying this week. 

With a report by Kelly Greig.