August 15, 2013
We're reaching out today for help and assistance in putting an end to a student behavior that has made many people in our school community feel uncomfortable and unsafe; student streaking.
During today’s lunch, two Palo Alto high school seniors streaked through our campus. Typically this type of behavior has occurred during the end of senior year prior to graduation, and in my six years at Paly, it never has happened on the first day of school. This action creates a negative school environment, and this is not the way we would have liked to kick-off the beginning of the school year.
We need to work together to end this unsafe and educationally disruptive “tradition.” Staff, students, parents, and visitors have all complained about this activity and the effect it has on the educational environment. As Principal, my top priority is ensuring the physical and emotional safety of every student and adult on our campus. When students run through our campus without clothing in the spirit of fun, whether they realize it or not, they are creating a hostile work environment for the many employees of Palo Alto High School, but more importantly, an emotionally unsafe environment for students.
Seventeen or eighteen year-old students may not think of their behavior in this context and the unintended consequences of their actions. Over the years, consequences for this type of behavior may not have been applied consistently nor made clear to students, which has only made the situation worse over time. So, to be absolutely clear - the consequences from this point forward will include suspension from school and a conference with our Palo Alto Police Department School Resource Officer.
I firmly believe we have the power to do great things at Paly. Engaging in thoughtful dialogue about creating a safe and welcoming school environment with our students is of the utmost importance at this time. I know that if we work together, we can educate our students and resolve this issue.
Moving forward, we will be working together with our senior class, and all students on campus, engaging in conversations about respect for others, personal safety, and the school-wide unintended consequences of the actions of a small group of students. It’s time for us to put an end to this “tradition” and channel our energies in a more positive direction. In the spirit of our working together, I ask you to have a conversation about this topic with your student sharing your support for our efforts in this regard.
As always, thank you for your support,
Principal, Palo Alto Senior High School