Pro/Con: District should take aggressive action to combat student streaking

Pro:

Written By: Lisa Hao

Streaking has been a popular tradition in Palo Alto for longer than most can remember. For some students, their high school experience wouldn’t be the same without the occasional nude body sprinting across the quad. However, Palo Alto High School’s principal Kim Dioro has recently sent out a letter to her students reiterating the consequences of streaking. Although streaking is not a big part of the Gunn culture, it should not be encouraged.

One of the main issues of streaking is simply how distasteful it is. It breaches our right to be able to choose when, where and how we want to be introduced to the complete human body. Although streaking is done all in good nature and for some laughs, most incoming Gunn students haven’t seen a fully naked body in public and have absolutely no desire to. Looking at the human anatomy in Biology class is quite different from seeing it run past you in person. One should be able to choose the time and place that he feels mature enough to see his first bare, hairy body instead of having the image forced upon him. Private parts are called private for a reason.

Furthermore, streaking often gives way to lots of gossip and rumors about who it was and what his or her body is like. Streakers are putting their naked bodies in public and making themselves vulnerable to the spiteful and mean comments high schoolers can make.

However, it goes both ways. People who streak are usually the people who are decently confident in their body and the way it looks. Yet, the majority of teenagers are not satisfied with the way they look even though they wish they could be. Students who struggle with their self-image might compare themselves to the streakers and feel as though they do not suffice. The media constantly portrays the idea of what beauty is and makes it nearly impossible to be confident in one’s own looks. It has changed the typical mindset of appreciating what one has to wanting what one lacks. Streaking can help diminish feelings of confidence and create the feeling of not being good enough.

Streaking is also disruptive and can pose a threat to Gunn’s learning environment. It is already hard enough for students to focus for the whole school day, but should streaking occur, students will be thinking about flying body parts and silly masks instead of trying to focus on class work. Gunn’s mission statement may be to “foster a community of creative thinkers,” but creativity should not interfere with learning. However, if students do decide to streak and happen to get caught, they will most likely be suspended. Police may even be involved and they can be labeled as a sex offender.

No “tradition” should have so many drawbacks. Just because it is considered a “tradition” does not mean that it should be glorified or continued.

 

—Hao, a sophomore, is a reporter

 

Con:

Written By: Mitch Donat

It’s not easy to find a high school where there isn’t a group of seniors running naked through the campus at least once a year. Streaking is simply a lighthearted tradition and should not be taken as something more serious. However, following a hot streaking trend, Palo Alto High School (Paly) released a statement saying that they would attempt to crack down on the streaking tradition. This included increasing the severity of punishments and making suspension and police involvement a possibility. Paly Principal Kim Diorio justified this policy by describing streaking as unsafe and educationally disruptive. However, while streaking should not necessarily be condoned, the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) also should not be putting in extra effort to punish students who participate in the age-old tradition of streaking. This attempt to more severely punish student streakers only encourages more riotous behavior and draws attention away from the more important issues that need to be dealt with.

Currently, there are no Paly students on their quad throwing up after seeing a couple of streakers because they do not take it seriously. But if officials choose to run after a few streakers in order to detain and discipline them, it only provokes the students. An example of such has already been seen in Palo Alto—after Diorio made the statement on the school’s increased action against streaking, a group of students responded by streaking the week after. In this act of rebellion against the district, the streakers made it clear that they would not let the new policies affect their actions. What the district set out to accomplish in the first place completely backfired on it, as the strict anti-streaking code only encouraged students to show that they did not want to be controlled.

There are those who will argue that streaking creates both a negative learning environment for students and a poor image of the school to outsiders. Whether such a claim is true is up for debate. However, many other elements that can create a much more emotionally unsafe school environment exist. The district should not focus its attention on streaking because there are other more prominent issues currently going on. Drug use, cheating and depression occur frequently, yet the district has not made any statements about how it plans to resolve those problems, even though they negatively affect students much more than streaking can. Just because the district and students do not actually see these issues during a school day, like they do with streaking, the learning environment of the school is harmed on a much larger scale. Compared to other problems happening in Palo Alto schools, streaking is insignificant.

Paly’s administration and the rest of the district should dismiss any further action to suppress and punish the relatively harmless tradition of streaking. Although provocative in nature, streaking can be seen as a solidified ritual in high school, and, most of all, it is the least of the problems that the district has on its hands right now.

 

—Donat, a senior, is a Managing Editor

 

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