Last week, Dennis Earl Elementary school was surprised to receive a visit from Turlock Firefighters. Although there was no fire or immediate threat to students, there was an equally important underlying mission tethered to their visit—defending a student who had been teased for wearing pink.
“The firefighters are role models to our students and as such have an impact when they visit classrooms. The fact that they wanted to volunteer their time to educate our students about this cause and the pinks shirts and how to treat others was awesome,” wrote Dennis Earl Principal Laura Fong.
Oct. 6 marked the first day that Turlock Unified School District and school sites, including Dennis Earl, began to participate in the Turlock Firefighter’s Pink Shirt Campaign, a movement which raises money to battle breast cancer.
That day, Fong reported that many students and staff throughout the school donned their pink shirts, however first grader Logan Rocha was told by another student that “pink was for girls, not boys.” Once he got home, Logan Rocha told his mother Kerry Rocha that he no longer wanted to wear his pink shirt because of the teasing comments made to him.
Although Kerry Rocha tried to cheer her son up by telling him that the firefighters were also wearing pink shirts, Logan Rocha was still heartbroken. So when she bumped into Turlock Fire Capt. Frank Saldivar at Turlock High School, she told him about her son’s ordeal.
After learning about what happened to Logan Rocha, Saldivar contacted firefighters at Station 3 and asked them to pay a visit to the boy’s school. After getting Rocha’s and the school’s approval, the firefighters showed up and educated students on the Pink Shirt Campaign, as well as the importance of breast cancer awareness and support.
The firefighters also thanked Logan Rocha personally for wearing his pink shirt, which had a noticeable effect on the other boys in class. This week, more boys were reported to be wearing the pink shirt than ever before.
“What I hope and believe that these students got from the firefighters’ visit is a positive lesson,” wrote Fong. “By having local heroes, who are role models to these students every day, come wearing pink shirts themselves to show that pink is not just for girls, was a great message.”