Bullying | Page 6 | Not in Our Town


Gunn High School in the Palo Alto Unified School District has held a Not In Our School campaign at their school for nearly a decade. The objective of the weeklong campaign is to “promote acceptance, awareness and identity within the PAUSD community” and “to help the Gunn community increase understanding and encourage discussion about the diversity and race relations Gunn.”
How do the names people call you affect the way you see yourself?
When the white supremacist group National Socialist Movement began organizing in Olympia, student leaders decided to take action by organizing a school wide assembly to address the threat and express their values for a safe and accepting community. (3:00) Discussion Questions: One student spoke about the need for “active participation” to ensure their town was not a place for hate. What does the idea of “active participation” mean to you? Does it apply to everyone in a community?  Why or why not? The students profiled in the video shared that there were small numbers of students of color in their community and that they were each often the only non-Caucasian student in class.   What impact do you think this had on their decision to lead efforts against the neo-Nazis in their town?  Do you think this made it harder or easier for them to take on this challenge? Explain. One student shared that “The enemy is not the Nazis, but any form of hate.”  How do you think that these students could continue to promote anti-hate efforts in their school and community beyond the crisis they faced with the neo-Nazi group?  Are these activities that we could apply to our own school or community? To turn on closed captioning for this film, click play, then click the Subtitles/CC button on the bottom of the video player.
Engaging students in dialogue about prejudice and discrimination is a very powerful tool in combating hate and bullying and ensuring respectful classrooms and schools. Such dialogues can be led by classroom teachers, school social workers or counselors, or by other students trained to lead and facilitate dialogue.  Having students view the “Students Tune In and Speak Out” video to begin such a dialogue is an effective way to open this process.
At West Middle School in Rockford, IL, student council members organized a Not In Our School campaign and a school-wide assembly with student-produced skits challenging stereotypes and other intolerant behavior. (2:43)    Discussion Questions: What did you think of the scenarios the students performed?  Were they similar to name-calling or stereotypes you may have heard or seen?   In each performance scene, the target of the name-calling modeled a response or rebuttal. Did you find these responses realistic?  Do you think they would be effective in stopping the name-calling?  Give examples of why or why not.   One student in the video quoted the belief that “In order to improve the future, we must know where we have been in the past.” What does this statement mean to you?  What lessons from our history in the United States do you feel we have learned, or do we still need to learn, in order to improve our future?  
While the students profiled in this video had a catalyst prompting them to hold a community anti-hate rally, this is not necessary to engage students or the larger community in conversations and learning about diversity and respect.   In fact, establishing these principals as priorities in your school -- to be discussed and affirmed not only in times of crisis -- can be very powerful in preventing incidents from occurring or if they do, to know there are established channels of support and response.    This lesson is part of the Not In Our School Video Action Kit, a comprehensive toolkit featuring films, lessons, and resources designed to motivate students to speak out against bullying, and create new ways to make their schools safe for everyone.
In this video, students created an assembly performance that included individual presentations, role-playing scenarios and musical performances.  Any or all of these efforts represent exciting and creative ways for students to contribute their voice and perspectives to important social justice issues.   As this is a big undertaking, please review the following guidelines to assist in your planning and implementation.  
Palo Alto High School students urge their peers to take action in response to the school shooting of 15-year-old Oxnard, CA student Lawrence "Larry" King, who was perceived to be gay. Some of these students are members of the school's Gay and Straight Alliance (GSA) and also performers in the Palo Alto High production of "The Laramie Project," a play about Laramie, Wyoming's response to the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard. (2:56)
In this video, students use role-playing scenarios to depict experiences with prejudice or name-calling and practice effective interventions to combat or stop the bullying or harassment. This process can be an effective tool to use with students in your own classroom and school. Please use the guidelines below and review the “Note of Caution” to ensure a positive and productive experience. This lesson is part of the Not In Our School Video Action Kit, a comprehensive toolkit featuring films, lessons, and resources designed to motivate students to speak out against bullying, and create new ways to make their schools safe for everyone.   Age-level:                   middle and high school students
  In this excerpt of "Not In Our School: Palo Alto, CA", Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School students and teachers use campus TV to coordinate a school-wide screening of the Not In Our Town youth video, and broadcast a school-wide student forum about what young people can do to stand up to intolerance. After the broadcast, students in each classroom participated in a candid, supportive, round table discussion about the effects of intolerance, and what young people can do to make their campus a place where all people are safe and respected. (3:57)    Discussion Questions: