Not In Our Schools | Not in Our Town

Not In Our Schools

Daisy Renazco, Gunn High School Mathematics Teacher/GSA Advisor   I love Not In Our Schools (NIOS) week for so many reasons! :-) The main reason being that this week provides students and teachers an opportunity to talk about topics that can be emotional, as well as sometimes uncomfortable. As a result, these conversations end up bringing our school community closer to one another. We are willing to share with each other a little bit more, our conversations are a little more thoughtful, and the goal of teaching the “whole child” is really being done during this week.   For one of my AP Statistics classes this week, I chose to not talk about content and had a discussion with my students about the “It Gets Better” campaign. The “It Gets Better” campaign was started by Dan Savage as a response to the several Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) youth that had committed suicide in the month of September of 2010.  
The Not In Our Town film crew had the pleasure of joining the city of Lancaster, Calif. during its Not In Our Town Anti-Bullying Week, a collaboration between the city and four primary and secondary school districts. And we weren't the only ones. Check out Fox 11's story and broadcast, "Lancaster High Students Drown out Bullying—Literally" here. Look forward to our upcoming Not In Our Town video featuring Lancaster's homegrown Not In Our Town Anti-Bullying program. Here's a sneak peek from our footage: About Not In Our Town Lancaster:
What began as one educator’s effort to create a safer environment for her middle school campus has blossomed into a citywide movement. Next week, Lancaster, Calif. will promote an anti-bullying message geared at the city’s 50,000 students and will memorialize those lost to school bullying.   The city, at its Oct. 26 city council meeting, dedicated the week of Nov. 15-19 to the Not in Our Town Citywide Anti-Bullying program. During the first days of the week, 200 student ambassadors from the four primary and secondary Lancaster school districts will conduct anti-bullying activities at their 20 home campuses. Students will perform a musical dramatization, "Darkness to Light Memorial Service," at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center on Nov. 17.    The strength of the anti-bullying program, according to counselor Lauri Massari, lies in student involvement. Massari, an educator with nearly 30 years of experience, launched the program at Del Sur Middle School last year. She tapped students in her True Leaders program, which focuses on peer instruction.   “Kids create change on campus, not adults,” she says. “Kids create the culture that’s important to them.”  
Two years after a hate crime rocked the small Long Island village of Patchogue, N.Y., the community will come together to remember local resident Marcelo Lucero and to pledge to work toward peace, harmony, and unity in the wake of Lucero's violent death. Lucero's younger brother, Joselo Lucero, is organizing a vigil on Sunday, Nov. 7 and has invited youth to create positive messages for a Wall of Hope at the ceremony. Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri and the Village Trustees will be participating in the event.
In the aftermath of a hate crime, how do teachers open a conversation with their students about hate and intolerance? After seven high schoolstudents assaulted and killed Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue, NY, local educators were shocked that this could happen intheir town. At South Ocean Middle School, Principal Linda Pickford wantedto create a safe environment where her students could express theirfeelings about the tragedy, and share their ideas about diversity,immigration, inclusion and respect.  When Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri suggested that Principal Pickfordhost an art exhibit called “Embracing Our Differences,” she agreed thatart was a great medium to explore these important issues, and shemounted the collection of banners on the front lawn of her school.