To foster community building, Saint Francis High School held a weeklong campaign highlighting various ways students can stand up for acceptance and fight intolerance.
Three clubs on campus — Lace Up Stand Up, Safe Spaces and Stand Up! Speak Up! — worked together to plan lunchtime activities and a community night for the Not In Our School campaign, which is part of a national movement aimed at inspiring students to promote an atmosphere of acceptance wherever they are.
Throughout the week, students were encouraged to reflect on ways they can be “upstanders” — individuals who they take positive action if they ever see someone being harmed.
In one activity, student organizers asked their peers to write about a time they stood up for somebody. On another day, they encouraged classmates to sign a poster, stating their commitment to serve as a resource for those who feel bullied.
The Not In Our School student organizers said these activities had impact because they served as reminders to students that they do not have to walk alone during tough times. There are classmates and clubs to support them. Additionally, the activities underscore the ways students are already striving to take action against injustice.
“By giving people an opportunity to say how they are taking a stand, we are acknowledging their good acts,” said senior Alicia Perez.
More than 100 students attended the community night that capped off the special weeklong campaign. Held in the quad and cafeteria, the social event brought students together through music, ice cream sundaes and a food truck.
“It was a good night to get to know people better,” said junior Gianna DiBono, who helped organize the week’s events.
Students also signed the Not In Our School pledge, which states that as a member of Saint Francis, a community rooted in faith and respect, they will stand up against bullying and intolerance and will work with others to maintain a safe environment.
The three clubs that sponsored the Not In Our School activities: Lace Up Stand Up trains students on how to intervene when they witness a bullying situation. Safe Spaces provides a safe environment for students to discuss lifestyle, health and wellness issues. Stand Up! Speak Up! is a social justice club that aims to bring awareness of social problems to the school community.