Palo Alto High School will host its annual Not In Our Schools week beginning Monday during brunch and lunch on the Quad.
To make NIOS more of a widespread event than past years, the week will have events which relate to the bullying-issue theme of each day, according to Student Activities Director Matt Hall.
“We’re certainly going to try and make it more impactful,” Hall said. “We’re going to try and make it more visible and see what sort of seeds we can plant.”
Each day will focus on different types of bullying: sexual assault on Monday, anti “isms” on Tuesday, ability awareness on Wednesday, compassion and action on Thursday and, lastly, gender sexuality and awareness on Friday. Each day will also be associated with a certain color that the students will be encouraged to wear, according to Hall. The different colors for the days are red, blue, purple, green and rainbow.
Each day will consist of different activities, including performances and various people coming to talk about the issues being addressed. For example, on ability awareness day on Wednesday, Best Buddies is coming to do an activity with the student body. Ada’s Cafe, a local business that employs people who are both abled and disabled, will be catering on the Quad on that day, too. On the last day, since the color is rainbow, the committee of students running NIOS will be giving shirts to students who will have the opportunity to tie dye them, according to Hall.
“This year [we want] to help spark talk about diversity,” Multicultural Commissioner Ellen Shuan said. “We want to focus on different themes each day so we can address everything about equality and diversity.”
Thursday, compassion and action day, is also when the Paly service day is taking place. For the entire school day, students will be taking time out of school to go out and help the community.
Paly Librarian Rachel Kellerman is also creating a LibGuide for the teachers during the week. The webpage will include some videos and short discussion questions that correlate with topic of the day, according to School Climate Teacher on Special Assignments, Eric Bloom.
“Ms. Kellerman has taken on this role in providing some content for teachers to grab onto so that if they feel like they want to spend a little bit of time talking about one of the topics for the day, they can,” Bloom said. “The idea is to sneak a little into the class to just start conversations.”
The focus of NIOS this year is to have it mainly student run along with getting more people interested in the topics covered during the week, according to Bloom.
“It needs to come from kids who are interested in taking it on,” Bloom said. “Not in our schools week is really about developing leadership from the ground up and about empowering students to take over the way that people approach [the problems covered].”