End Foothill's Empty Promises on Sexual Harassment
End Foothill's Empty Promises on Sexual Harassment
Why this petition matters
Title IX is not the problem. The policies are not the problem. Foothill is the problem.
Foothill’s execution of these policies is the problem.
After conducting research for NOTA’s latest issue, we’ve uncovered the scope of the true pandemic plaguing our campus. It’s safe to say that not a single person who took part in the Sexual Harassment DBQ has any trust left in our school system anymore. Not a single person who took part feels comfortable reporting sexual harassment to school officials. We do not feel heard. We do not feel seen. We do not feel like our voices or experiences are being taken seriously.
Excerpt from “Answer Key” in Denial Based Questions: “We’re speaking up to tell you that these problems are larger than ourselves. If there were an easy fix, we would have done it already. If there were an easy fix, there would be no need for this issue. You can’t expect children to both reconcile and remedy the problems you create and the injustices you perpetuate.”
And yet, we’re here. Something must be fundamentally wrong with the way our school handles these cases for us to focus on reforming our systems, rather than our actual education. We’ve tried leaving it to the adults (as our administration has so graciously suggested). Surprise! It didn’t work. We’ve created a list of demands—that our school has neglected to fulfill—based on specific, non performative actions. Clearly, just a petition will not be enough to create real change. Signing this petition indicates your support for our cause, and a comment will help prove that this is an important issue to district officials and administration. We will be at the February 10th PUSD Board Meeting to comment on the following issues. Please consider showing your support through this petition or at the meeting itself.
Our purpose with this petition is simple: to make Foothill compliant with Title IX and PUSD discipline policies.
List of Demands:
- Clause 4 and 5 of the PUSD Student Discipline Process must be made clear and followed through on, regarding alleviation and follow-throughs on sexual harassment.
- "If appropriate, the investigator shall follow up with the employee or pupil who filed the complaint after a reasonable period of time to ensure that no further.”
- “Appropriate action shall be taken whenever possible to alleviate the effects of the harassment."
- These actions may include, but are not limited to, offering mental health services, counseling, the choice of a schedule change, etc.
After conducting our research, we have found no evidence of meaningful follow up or any appropriate actions to alleviate the effects of harassment. Under Title IX, victims have the right to be informed about the investigation processes.
- All students attend a yearly training assembly on District Policies regarding Sexual Harassment & Harassment
- No meaningful assembly has taken place since Covid-19 started. Students and faculty members do not know the Foothill Title IX Coordinator, and consequences are unclear.
- While in-person presentations were not an option during remote learning, the administration’s continued use of impersonal means of communication, like webinars, only seem to minimize the severity of the issue. Members of the administration have even admitted that some students choose to skip these Advisory presentations. Sexual harassment and compliance with Title IX are too important to be pushed out in a webinar that students will ignore. If the administration knows that students will not watch these presentations, why do they still choose to use these means of communication for such important issues?
- Ensure that Title IX Policies and ARs (Administrative Regulations) are known to all student and faculty members, and continually reinforce efforts to check understanding, ask for feedback, and collaborate with the Foothill Community.
- Currently, Title IX policies are not accessible on Foothill’s website at all. A search result for keywords “Title IX,” “sexual harassment,” yields nothing on the page itself. The only place where Title IX is mentioned is the Student-Parent Handbook (embedded as a link, so it does not show up on the search engine), on page 14-15. To anyone not deliberately researching (and our rights shouldn’t have to be deliberately researched for us to be aware of them), this is nearly impossible to find.
- Admit that Foothill is not compliant with Title IX. Students do not know their rights, faculty members do not know how to advise students who come to them with issues regarding sexual harassment, and parents are unaware of how to help their children. Any meaningful reform will start with a public admission that Foothill needs to change.
Finally, although there is no way to enforce this or measure it, victims of sexual harassment deserve empathy and respect, during and after the investigation process. Students should be complaining about the policies – those can be fixed. Yet, most of the students that we interviewed felt like their stories were treated as trivial, or at best, just another task to check off a to-do list.
Our backs are breaking, Foothill. Not from the healthy 15 pounds of educational materials sitting on our shoulders, but from the moral burdens that students bear when forced to choose between their education and their integrity, between sacrificing countless hours just to advocate for themselves and coming to school for its true purpose: to learn.
Thanks for teaching us for all these years, Foothill. It’s time we give back.
Jessica Bakar and Annabelle Kim