Several Palo Alto, CA schools host Not In Our School weeks this month, devoting time to recognizing and combating discrimination and stereotypes.
Not In Our School (NIOS) has been present at Gunn High School for 12 years. While Gunn promotes acceptance and awareness to its students year-round, the NIOS week allows students to actively think about these topics and participate in assemblies and activities with classmates. Gunn’s theme is “We’re all in this together,” according to Palo Alto Online.
"The kind of acceptance and inclusion we focus on has become part of the daily fabric of their school," Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, NIOS Director told Palo Alto Online. "They have created a model where teachers in all departments take responsibility for opening dialogue on issues of ending bullying and of creating identity-safe classrooms where all students belong."
Jordan Middle School is also participating in the NIOS activities this week. Palo Alto High School and JLS Middle School will hold NIOS week in late April.
“Not In Our Schools Week not only introduced me to the inequalities teens face, but I learned how to rise above the hateful comments said by others. Not In Our Schools week celebrates differences and teaches acceptance, which is really important to learn in high school,” Gunn alumnus Jenna Melville told the Palo Alto Patch. “People gain empathy for someone who's different, and every year it opened my eyes to see how accepting people at Gunn were.“