In a few hours, the end-of-day bell will ring at Gunn High School and students will gather in the school squad with a scream. After a daylong vow of silence—representing the inability of many teens to express themselves fully because of sexual orientation or gender identity—this communal scream will symbolize the "Breaking of the Silence" that is felt by LGBTQ youth and allies.
The Day of Silence activity is just one of many during Gunn's Not In Our School Week. The Palo Alto, Calif. high school has hosted a Not In Our School for nearly a decade to "promote acceptance, awareness and identity safety."
"One of the reasons why I like NIOS Week is that it reminds staff and students that it’s OK to actively participate in what’s going on around you, and that you should be supported for standing up against something that isn’t right," said Kristy Blackburn, reflecting on how she uses Not In Our School activities in her English classroom.
Part of what makes Gunn's week so successful is the participation of multiple departments using tried-and-true lesson plans and activities. See what Gunn teachers have to say about this approach.
Not In Our Town has captured several of these activities on film, including the popular Dissolving Stereotypes activity.
Congratulations to Gunn for making inclusion part of the campus culture for yet another year!
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