By: Todd Murray
The Prejudice Elimination Action Team (P.E.A.T), is a club at DHS sponsored by teacher Spanish teacher Maria Gonzales. The club brings awareness to different biases and ways to eliminate them in students’ daily lives using the national “No Place for Hate” curriculum. Meetings are held every Tuesday after school from 4-6pm and Thursdays at lunch in room W2015.
The learning activities that PEAT does revolve around a handbook from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that’s filled with activities about reflecting on oneself. The point is to understand the words related to bias and prejudice with each activity building on itself until an action plan is created for the big ADL meeting.
Gonzales, who has sponsored the club for about nine years, started a year after DHS brought in the “no place for hate” program. “[PEAT] has certain requirements, we have to have a coalition that meets regularly and plans activities, and we have to do three activities throughout the school year that tries to involve every student at DHS,” said Gonzales.
Among the activities they offer is a two-day peer training workshop called “a world of difference” held by the ADL that helps members to learn about their own biases, which helps them to go out and teach others the same knowledge and builds responsibility.
The PEAT club has its own mascot of sorts, a dragon named “PEAT the Dragon” that was created at one of the ADL peer workshops. The dragon was born from an activity called the “ideal ally” which has the members draw a picture that represents traits that an ideal ally has. Most people would draw humans, but the group of the time thought a dragon was a more creative pick.
DHS Jr. Bella Rodriguez is a two-year member of PEAT club and says she has learned a lot about responsibility, and that DHS should have more than a club that teaches prejudice elimination.
“It’s kind of hard not to bully people if you don’t understand how your words are affecting that person,” said Rodriguez.
Gonzales also believes that it would be amazing if there was a class for the activities that PEAT does because every student should be aware of their own biases.
Currently, at DHS there are no classes that cover the topics of self-awareness that PEAT club does.
Rey Perez, a freshman, is in his first year as a member and he feels like he is already part of the family.
“I was bullied when I was young so when I came to PEAT, I kind of felt [at] home because it gets rid of that barrier,” said Perez.
For DHS’s roster of clubs and activities, PEAT is one grounded in important fundamentals for life in and outside of school. Many of the members have said students need to learn about their biases so they can eliminate them for a better future. If you would like to join their family, they would be glad to have you.