By: The Editorial Board
With rallies heralded as some of the best in the Bay, Mills owes a lot to the Leadership class for their hours of preparation poured in to present a forty-five minute show of Viking pride. While rallies are far from the sole opportunity to splash on some face paint and unite in solidarity under the Mills name, students are often niched into a specific group when displaying camaraderie, whether for a specific sports game, art performance, or academic tournament. Rallies provide the unique occasion where all students, of every grade and interest, congregate to one location for pure, unadulterated expression of school pride. So why is it, when given the chance to empathize with our peers and share experiences much more preferable to the common drudgery of the school day, that incidents where students disrespect and misjudge the purpose of rallies happen? Rather than uniting the 1200-odd student body for a session of fun performances, foolish games, and dancing teachers, rallies have approached a divisive edge where incidents have put into question the intended effect of these lighthearted gatherings.
Mills has recently become all too familiar with misbehavior at the rallies. Every rally this year has arisen a new example of what seems to be at best a concerning rise in student mischief, at worst a growing trend of increasing disrespect for rallies. In the first rally of the year, senior and sophomore students stormed past their sections and briefly rushed towards one another. In the second rally, paper streamers, intended to be playful decorations, were thrown at students and administrators. In the third rally, the senior class performers executed an inappropriate skit rather than the one that was pre-approved by Mills. And, most recently at the tailend of this year’s final rally, a student hurled spoiled milk towards the center of the West Gym around the time the seniors were storming the court to celebrate their last high school rally.
These abuses of the rallies have come with consequences that perhaps many students have missed. Following the first two initial incidents, new rally protocols require rope barriers to be placed around the perimeter of the court enclosing the different class sections, and paper streamers and other throwable items are no longer allowed to be used as rally decorations. Furthermore, following the senior skit incident, the group of students that performed were banned from performing at the last rally of their high school careers. With no real replacement set of performers, the senior class went their last high school rally without a true skit to their name. The student who threw the spoiled milk last rally has reportedly faced some method of discipline following a thorough process to confirm the identity of the perpetrator. Given recent history, it would not be a surprise if a new round of rally restrictions will be announced and enforced for next year.
The current trend of deteriorating behavior at rallies may be the result of a spiral effect influencing students to “compete” for the next best prank. Emphasizing the fun, unifying purpose of rallies and the expectations of student behavior during them is necessary to ensuring that rallies are experienced in the context of a positive school event. While making public examples of students who participated in the previous incidents are far from the answer to deterring future disturbances, transparency about the specific consequences of violating rally conduct is a step Mills administration can take. As for the students, thinking about how one person’s actions have unintended consequences on a wider range of people may be cause for reconsideration of an act of misbehavior.
Ultimately, rallies are an occasion to celebrate the memories of high school and cheer for the carefree moments of youth. It is up to the student body to collectively hold true the intention of rallies, preserving a school spirit to be proud of.