In the wake of recent events, in which multiple bullying incidents occurred in Palo Alto schools, Palo Alto High School’s Associated Student Body hopes to combat the issue of bullying through Unity Day this Wednesday.
“Unity Day is a day where we spread awareness to our community to raise awareness of bullying prevention through events, activities, outreach and education,” ASB Multicultural Commissioner Ellen Shuan, a junior, said.
During lunch, ASB members will set up booths and walk around encouraging students to sign a petition to raise awareness and prevent future bullying from occurring at Paly. Additionally, five clubs will organize activities to engage students in the event.
“One of the main goals that ASB wanted to achieve this year was to bridge the gap between ASB and clubs,” Shuan said. “So I organized five clubs so far that are going to set up activities during lunch to contribute to this event. This way, we are encouraging clubs to be involved in spreading this cause towards the student body, bridging the gap between clubs and ASB, and even helping clubs promote themselves through this event.”
For the finale, ASB will hang an orange chain in the library with students’ names on it.
The chain will act as a reminder to students that “although unity day is over, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep working towards the prevention of bullying at Paly,” Shuan said.
Shuan hopes that Unity Day will dispel the belief that bullying is not present in Palo Alto.
“Students at Paly commonly believe that bullying isn’t something that happens at our school, but it does,” Shuan said. “Bullying can be as simple as someone purposefully ignoring someone or talking about them about their back. This affects students by making them feel as if there’s something wrong with them or feel excluded from our community. In the end, this could usually lead to something more severe such as depression or suicide.”
Recently, the Palo Alto Unified School District was under fire for the bullying found in its schools, even leading to a federal investigation by the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Given these events, ASB aims for Unity Day to foster a more accepting and welcoming community for students, according to Shuan.
“Students will benefit from unity day by participating in the event and by watching others get pumped up for taking a step towards unity,” Shuan said. “This also allows students feel more connected and accepted to the Paly community. It’s important for this event to take place because ASB wants Paly students to receive the best possible experience out of Paly, and one way to achieve this goal is to make sure students feel safe, accepted and affiliated in our community.”