More Education, Less Harassment!
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This is a petition to educate teachers and students about sexual harassment, how it affects students, and how to prevent it. We surveyed one hundred students at Oakland Technical High School ranging from grades 9 through 12, in order to learn about their experiences with sexual harassment. 42% reported being sexually harassed, and 52% reported witnessing it. Many respondents wrote that they witnessed guys grabbing girls’ bodies without permission and “catcalling” or making unwanted sexual comments. They also wrote about people invading their personal space, even when asked to stop. When asked if they had ever witnessed sexual harassment, 26% of respondents said they were not sure, indicating that people do not know the signs or what to look for. One respondent wrote that teenagers find harassment “funny,” because they don’t understand how “harmful and traumatizing” it can be. Another wrote that people feel like they are “entitled” to treat people a certain way or see it as playful, not realizing the true consequences of their actions. We need people to understand that they are not entitled to make unwanted comments about others' bodies or touch them without explicit permission. Students must be taught to understand and respect each other’s boundaries.
In a survey of thirty-one teachers at Tech, we discovered that 58% had never received training in how to handle sexual harassment, and many of those that did wrote that it was not at Tech or that it was a long time ago. One respondent wrote that they would prefer “real training on this and a real policy rather than dealing with this on a case by case basis.” 51% of our respondents also said they did not know what to do if a student was being sexually harassed, and did not feel they had the resources and support they need to protect students from sexual harassment. It is clear that Oakland Tech needs to have better policies around sexual harassment, including educating students and teachers and providing the resources they need to make school a safe environment for every student.
The goals of our petition are as follows:
1. Provide teachers with training every year on how to prevent and handle sexual harassment between students, in the form of a workshop, seminar, or presentation.
2.Outline clear consequences for students that are harassing others.
3. Educate students on sexual harassment and how it affects others in an assembly or lesson. Make it clear what consequences will be for sexual harassment.
4. Provide resources for students to discuss and/or report sexual harassment. There should be forms for students to report details of harassment and a counselor they can talk to regarding the incident(s).
In signing this petition, you are bringing Oakland Tech a step closer to creating a safe learning environment for all students. School needs to be a place where you can go without fear of being sexually harassed. Every person has the right to an education, and that right is jeopardized when students feel uncomfortable or unsafe in their own school. Sign this petition to educate students and teachers so we can stop sexual harassment at Oakland Tech!
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