A boy was bullied at school for wearing a pink T-shirt, but his story went viral in a positive way, thanks to support from his teacher (video below).
Fourth-grader William Gierke, 9, of Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, went to school in November of 2015 wearing a pink T-shirt that said: “Tough guys wear pink.” He wore the shirt because he likes the color pink, but other students didn't like seeing a boy wearing it, and they called him a “sissy,” reported WTMJ.
William was distraught, but his male teacher witnessed the bullying and decided to help his student out by wearing a pink shirt for an entire week to show students that men can wear pink, too.
The teacher took a photo of himself wearing a pink shirt with William and sent it to William's mom, Tomi Genske, who posted the image to Facebook, where it was shared hundreds of times and became a hot topic in Sheboygan Falls.
The photo inspired “tough guys” like firefighters and local football players to wear pink and show their solidarity with the 9-year-old.
“I was actually bullied as a teenager, so the story hit home, and I just wanted to do something to take it to the next level," Craig Senglaub told WTMJ.
“The meaning of something like this is even more powerful than some of the bigger, more extravagant fundraisers,” added Tim Renzelmann, the Vice President of the Sheboygan County Care Fund. “It shows people in our community, paying kindness forward.”
This isn't the first time people wore pink to show solidarity with a child who was bullied.
In 2007, a group of Canadian high school students all wore pink to school to stick up for a classmate who had been bullied by another classmate.
The bullied student appreciated the support for what became known as the “Sea of Pink” campaign.
"Definitely it looked like there was a big weight lifted off his shoulders. He went from looking right depressed to being as happy as can be," said David Shepherd, one of the students who started the campaign, reported CBC News.