The words “Rally Day” bring up controversy in the minds of many at Berkeley High School (BHS). Marking the end of Spirit Week, Rally Day is meant to be a time for students to gather together and show pride for BHS. However, for some students and faculty, Rally Day comes with emotions that are more negative.
Recently, fall semester Rally Day was canceled, a decision that sparked backlash from students. For seniors, this is their last chance to take part in the tradition, after a year without any school spirit. Though many students and faculty have strong opinions on the choice to cancel Rally Day, it’s important for everyone to understand the positive and negative aspects of the event.
Abby Lamoreaux, a senior in Berkeley International High School (BIHS), said, “I’ve always had so much fun during Rally Day, and I love how everyone collectively comes together.”
However, BHS can’t ignore that there are negative aspects to it. At BHS, sexual harassment, racism, and physical violence spike during Rally Day. In the past, girls had their shirts ripped off and students yelled slurs in the hallways. Lamoreaux said, “Of course, I want to have a Rally Day and show my class pride, but I also recognize that when these communities are not feeling safe, it’s unfair for us to put them in a situation where they could potentially be at risk.” Lamoreaux added, “We need teachers to have their classrooms open so that kids who have witnessed harm or feel unsafe have a safe place to go.”
However, because of staff shortages, this Rally Day would have a much smaller number of faculty on campus ready to help. “[Teacher shortages] concern us every day. So when we think about a day like Rally Day when there’s a lot of kids out of class, it would be really difficult to have enough administrators to keep students safe,” said Principal Juan Raygoza. Overall, it seems like most students, and even teachers, really want a Rally Day to happen, as long as people don’t get hurt. “I personally have loved the Spirit Week during my time at BHS, but I hope we can have a week or a series of days where it feels safer and it’s joyful for everybody,” explained Claudia Gonzalez, the dean of students at BHS. Raygoza clarified, “I just really want to make it clear that I did not cancel the Rally Day, I postponed it until I can be sure that we can have a Spirit Week where students feel safe. Even though we are not having a Rally Day right now, we plan on having one later in the year.”