The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more
3 Anti-Bullying Lessons for Pink Shirt Day (Secondary Level)

3 Anti-Bullying Lessons for Pink Shirt Day (Secondary Level)

3 Anti-Bullying Lessons for Pink Shirt Day (Secondary Level)

For various secondary-level age groups

Chances are, you were bullied in school. Or maybe you bullied someone. Or, even more likely, you stood by and watched as someone got bullied.

Bullying—social or physical aggression used to dominate someone—is a serious issue in schools across Canada and has become increasingly complex over time. Mental health, social media and many other factors have made bullying in the 21st century a new challenge for even experienced educators.

Social inclusion and exclusion are motivating factors behind bullying. To children and youth, it’s a critical part of their psychological formation. Teenagers in particular put more value on their friend groups than parents, teachers or other potential role models. Some will abuse this value to gain power over others through physical or emotional bullying, especially if it targets any person or group who doesn’t “fit in” with what they think is socially acceptable.

If you’re looking for help in understanding bullying better or want to build an anti-bullying culture in your classroom, the NFB has you covered with three excellent films. Each comes with its own package of lessons and resources.

Violence – Bully Dance

Bully Dance, Janet Perlman, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Duration: 10 minutes

Age level: 5+

In this animated short film, ideal for younger elementary students, a community of dancers has to deal with a bully. A student is injured after a long period of physical bullying, and after learning that the bully has their own issues at home, the community is forced to make a decision about inclusion.

The two teacher guides (available for CAMPUS subscribers) for Bully Dance provide excellent worksheets, discussion strategies, and activities that help create a culture of conflict resolution in your classroom. Importantly, the film recognizes that bullies are often the victim of bullying themselves and also require support.

Discrimination – Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia

Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia, Josiane Blanc, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Duration: 23 minutes

Age level: 15+

This short documentary uses a mix of live interviews and animation to create a deeply moving story about young girls facing bullying because of their body size and shape. Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia looks at the impact of social bullying on both the victims and their families. It argues that society needs to face weight discrimination head on and have better media representation of all body sizes.

The viewing guide and lesson plan for Tales of Ordinary Fatphobia address stereotypes, social issues and mental health concerns that are caused by weight discrimination. These resources guide students to think about their own involvement in bullying and to create an awareness campaign to fight it.

Cyberbullying – Star Wars Kid: The Rise of the Digital Shadows

Star Wars Kid: The Rise of the Digital Shadows, Mathieu Fournier, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Duration: 80 minutes

Age level: 12+

More and more bullying happens online. Star Wars Kid examines one of the first—and most famous—examples of cyberbullying, bringing the victim and the bully together to talk, years later. This documentary looks at the social, financial, legal and mental impacts of cyberbullying through the eyes of Ghyslain Raza, the “Star Wars Kid” himself.

The lesson for Star Wars Kid uses a variety of strategies to examine the right to privacy, consent and how “compassionate inaction” can help prevent students’ worst impulses online. This film is well-suited to an older audience investigating the connections between media studies and bullying.


Pink Shirt Day is a national phenomenon that began in 2007. When a Nova Scotia student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt, his classmates bought and handed out 50 pink shirts to their fellow students, spreading their anti-bullying message. Since then, the last Wednesday in February has been designated “Pink Shirt Day” across Canada, where students stand up to bullying and practise resolving conflicts in a safe, healthy manner.

The NFB is proud to support Pink Shirt Day by offering these film resources, among many others, to Canadian educators. Talk to your school administrator or anti-bullying lead about more Pink Shirt Day resources you can access in your province or territory.

Most school boards offer a safe schools or progressive discipline program that provides educators with guidelines on how to handle bullying. In addition to the NFB’s anti-bullying resources, you might also consider using the following well-respected tools:

This blog post was written in collaboration with project consultant Mario Mabrucco.

Mario Mabrucco is a Toronto-based educator with almost 20 years’ experience teaching literacy, social studies, and arts to students in schools, churches, theatres and hospitals across Canada and Europe. He holds an M.Ed in Curriculum & Pedagogy with a specialization in Educational Policy, from the University of Toronto, where he mentors new M.Ed students. You can find more of his writing elsewhere for NFB resources, or on Medium, Twitter or his blog.

Pour lire cet article en français, cliquez ici.

Discover more Educational blog posts Watch educational films on NFB Education | Watch educational playlists on NFB Education | Follow NFB Education on Facebook | Follow NFB Education on Pinterest Subscribe to the NFB Education Newsletter



Add a new comment

Write your comment here