Bullying, discrimination and inequality are prevalent issues in high schools throughout America, so it is important to spread awareness and campaign to stop these horrible realities.  At Palo Alto High School, Unity Day does just that.  At lunch, tables are set up around the Quad all preaching their anti-bullying and equality ideals that Paly students should share.  However, it seems that students are not taking this day seriously, and in turn are not receiving the message that those participating in Unity Day are trying to share.  It is important that this changes.  Paly students must step up their maturity levels and make the most out of this day, so that we can take a step closer to becoming a more thoughtful, kind and inclusive campus.

First and foremost, it is important that people actually participate in the events hosted during lunch.  While there are a lot of people who visit each table, the majority of students stay seated eating their lunches or spend their time at Town and Country staying out of the way of the activities.  While some may consider the topics taboo, high schoolers should be able to take a step out of their comfort zone and do something meaningful for the school and their peers.  Some are unwilling to participate because they do not care, but how can one honestly not care about some of the most pressing issues affecting adolescents in our country today? Those that show no interest in Unity Day are most likely unaware of the horrible statistics behind bullying.

According to a study done by Michigan State University, over 20 percent of high school students are bullied.  It is important that students are aware of this, and other, staggering numbers, so that they can understand the affects of bullying on their fellow classmates and peers.  Participation is one of the biggest issues of Unity Day; if students were more informed, they would be more likely to participate in the activities and Unity Day would be much more successful than it has been in the past.

For those who participate, it seems that many of them are only visiting the tables to make fun of the day.  They are approaching the tables and doing the activities, however they are unaware of what they are actually doing.  This blind participation is pointless and for those signing petitions like “Spread the Word to End the Word” or anti-bullying, it is preferable for them not to sign the campaigns.

If a student is willing to participate, they should make the most of the experience and approach everything with a mature mindset.  Paly does not need people who think they are funny or cool to participate in the events, just to turn around and continue bullying or discriminating.  This is immature and takes away from those who are trying to experience the day for its actual purpose.  Similarly to increasing participation, this can be fixed easily by raising awareness about what happens at high schools across America.  Students may then be able to understand how meaningful Unity Day really is.

Setting aside an entire lunch for the school to raise awareness about anti-bullying, gender equality and other issues that adolescents face takes a lot of time and effort and students should not squander the opportunity to do something good for the Paly community.  People need to mature and approach Unity Day with a positive and serious attitude.  If the student body can do this, the school as a whole will learn a great deal and make a difference for those who have been bullied or discriminated against.  So Paly, stand up and do the right thing, take action and participate in Unity Day.

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