William Gierke is a fourth grader at Sheboygan Falls Elementary School in Wisconsin. One day last fall, he went to school in a pink T-shirt that read “Tough Guys Wear Pink” in large letters. The T-shirt was part of a breast cancer awareness campaign, so William was happy and proud to wear it. But instead of returning home from school overjoyed to have done his part, William came home crying. The kindhearted little boy was bullied and called a “sissy” by his classmates for wearing the shirt. His mother, Tomi, was devastated when William told her what happened and said he didn’t want to go back to school. Tomi didn’t know exactly how to respond to the situation. But luckily, she didn’t have to worry—because William’s teacher knew exactly what to do.
William’s teacher, Dan Winter, is a particularly caring educator. When he saw what happened to William that day, he thought about how to best address the situation. He decided to show his support for William and let the other students know that it’s okay for boys to wear pink. And he did this in a simple but brilliant way—by wearing pink shirts every day for a week.
Mr. Winter’s example led William to wear his shirt again the next week. And after William texted his mom a picture of him and his teacher wearing their pink shirts together, Tomi knew her son was in a safe learning environment.
Watch Tomi and her courageous little boy tell the story in this video:
Wasn’t Mr. Winter’s response perfect? Please share this story if you’d like to show your appreciation for the fine example he set!
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