Two streaking incidents at Palo Alto High School last week were the first since the administration, led by Principal Kim Diorio, cracked down on the student tradition in the 2013-14 school year.
A student ran nude across the football field during a Spirit Week rally last Monday, Oct. 19, and another student did the same at a night rally event on Wednesday, Oct. 22, student news outlet the Paly Voice reported.
Diorio released a statement last week, saying the administration took the incidents "very seriously." She reminded students that anyone involved in the "illegal activity of streaking will be subject to disciplinary action," which may include suspension, as outlined in Paly's Student Handbook. Seniors who are caught streaking will be suspended for two days and will meet with Palo Alto Police Department school resource officers, the handbook states.
If the streaking continues, seniors can be barred from participating in senior activities, including graduation.
"We're disappointed this happened and hope this isolated incident does not ruin Spirit Week for the majority of our school," Diorio said last week. She added that she didn't plan to send any communication home and instead wanted to focus on the efforts that went into planning a week of spirit events leading up to homecoming over the weekend.
"To that end, we hope students and staff will continue to come out and cheer on our fabulous Vikings during the rallies that lie ahead," Diorio said. "We believe this show of support makes a statement to all of our students that this incident is not reflective of what we value at our school."
The first day of the 2013-14 school year, when Diorio became principal, two seniors who streaked at lunch were suspended for two days. Diorio sent a message to parents that described the streaking as an "unsafe and educationally disruptive 'tradition.'"
"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," she wrote. "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."
There were no reported incidents of streaking the rest of that year, down from more than 100 the previous school year.
Before Diorio was named principal, streaking had grown as an end-of-year tradition, when seniors' classes were ending a time that became known as "streak week" season. A source told the Weekly in 2014 that every school day in May of the previous school year there had been streakers of both sexes, involving more than 100 students. One staff member reported that faculty and students felt unsafe on campus because of the activity and called the school environment "hostile."
The streaking crackdown in 2013-14 was one of several initiatives Diorio launched to improve school climate.