Topic

Sexual Assault

266 petitions

Update posted 8 hours ago

Petition to Kellenberg Memorial Administration, ​Brother Kenneth M. Hoagland, ​Father Philip K. Eichner

Kellenberg: Ensure Zero Tolerance for Sexual Misconduct by Changing School Policies

Following an incident of sexual assault on school property and a lack of explicit sexual misconduct policies, we are petitioning for two specific actions that Kellenberg Memorial Administration can take to promote a school culture with zero tolerance for sexual misconduct - ensuring the safety, rights and greatest potential of its students. A report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) tells us that 40 to 50 percent of students in grades 7 through 12 experience some form of sexual harassment in just one school year. Extend the time-frame to a student’s full high school career and that number jumps to 80 percent of students. Researchers have found girls are more likely to experience sexual harassment. They report that it is so common and ingrained in their everyday lives that they are often unaware when they are experiencing it - perpetuating the problem. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the issue is so pervasive that once our high school girls get to college, one in five of them will be sexually assaulted in their college career. Sadly, sexual assault does not discriminate based on how remarkable a high school is. Given these statistics and the amount of time kids spend at school (especially in a school like Kellenberg with many active students often catching a 5:30pm late bus home), this is a safety concern that needs to be explicitly addressed to protect students. Private schools such as Kellenberg who run exclusively on tuition and donations, are exempt from Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Title IX is the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and governs over protocols on how sexual assault/harassment is handled in educational settings. This means parents paying for their kids to attend Kellenberg are entrusting the administration alone to appropriately monitor these safety concerns without any oversight or compliance requirements from the government. Given that Kellenberg has a reputation of being a phenomenal school - and they are - this trust is often unquestioned. However, Kellenberg Memorial currently does not explicitly address sexual misconduct in their school handbook nor do they seem to have a policy regarding how sexual misconduct is addressed. This is unlike like the school handbooks at diocesan high schools such as Holy Trinity and St. John the Baptist in which they both have “Safe Environment Policy and Reporting” and “Sexual Harassment” sections. The similar language from these handbooks suggest this may be a diocesan requirement that Kellenberg is also exempt from since they are not considered a diocesan high school. The lack of such a policy is a surprising find given the high moral and academic standards the school upholds and the length of other sections of less importance than the safety and well-being of our kids. A recent incident at the school has shed light on ways the school can improve on their policies and school culture. A seventh-grade girl was being harassed by two boys for weeks and received repeated, intimate, unwanted touching from them on school property. Despite written statements from witnesses and the victim's account, these boys only received two days of suspension and were back in school following the incident. The lack of expulsion is a stark contrast from the decision to expel other students for incidents such as school pranks or selling DVDs. The only response from the school was a message on their website which indicated that there was inappropriate behavior among "three" students and steps were taken to address it. The message implied that the victim was somehow to blame. The victim's family, who have other alumni children, chose to withdraw their daughter from Kellenberg for her own well-being. Following the incident, some students and alumnus took to social media to express similar experiences with the school at varying degrees. Others expressed their disappointment in the decision-making and the message the administration is sending. By signing this petition, we are expressing that these policies and messages need to change. We are expressing that we will not stand for a school culture in which sexual misconduct persists or is the norm. If female students are to be treated equally to male students, we need to ensure and be able to trust school staff understand consent in order to address sexual misconduct. We need to ensure that students will feel comfortable reporting incidents that infringe on their rights. We need to ensure that students aren’t implicitly held responsible for inappropriate touches or words they did not consent to, want, or deserve at any given moment (i.e. that they were flirting, in relationship with them, weren’t dressed appropriately). Parents need to ensure that their daughters will be heard and protected when such incidents occur – not shamed. We need to ensure school staff know that if ANY student reports being inappropriately touched or spoken to without their consent, we know asking the victim what they did or didn’t do to provoke it is victim shaming. We need to ensure school staff know that even within a relationship or during a consensual circumstance, unwanted contact can still occur and/or consent could be withdrawn at any time with words like: no, stop, etc. Without an explicit school policy, we can not ensure these things. Kellenberg’s students will excel even more than they already do if they are in an environment that they feel safe, protected, and valued in. By signing this petition, we are calling for Kellenberg Memorial High School to ensure their school culture is one with zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. By signing this petition, we are asking the administration of Kellenberg to take the following two steps that will ensure their students, our sons and daughters, are educated in a setting that has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct, ensuring the safety and greatest potential for its students. These steps are: 1.   Designate at least one faculty member for each of the following roles (adopted from Framework for Developing School Policies to Address Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking). Student Advocate: A staff member responsible for supporting victims of abuse during the grievance, disciplinary or accommodations process. The Student Advocate does not have any role in decision-making; their responsibility is to educate students and families about the process and advocate for the rights and preferences of the victim when necessary. This position may also be responsible for educating the student population about the school’s policy and students’ rights under the policies and for collaborating with community partners to increase access for students to support services at school or in the community. School Coordinator: A person who has training in all areas of abuse, harassment and discrimination. This position may also be responsible for educating administrators, and caregivers about the school’s policy and students’ rights under the policies. This position is responsible for overseeing the training of all school employees on dating violence and sexual assault/harassment. The Coordinator may be responsible for developing and facilitating trainings or may collaborate with community organizations to conduct trainings. 2.   Revise Kellenberg's school handbook to safeguard, prevent and address sexual misconduct by adding a new section that addresses sexual misconduct, safe environment and reporting. This section should express that the school holds zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. It would include the importance of safeguarding against sexual misconduct as well as reporting and discipline procedures. Resources and contact information should be included.  These two recommendations come from a consolidation of reputable resources widely used to prevent and address sexual misconduct in schools. The following resources are recommended for guidance on action steps, policy changes and any further actions the school would like to take to ensure this issue does not arise again: Campus Sexual Assault: Suggested Policies and Procedures by the American Association of University Professors Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School published by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Framework for Developing School Policies to Address Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking by the U.S. Department of Justice in collaboration with Break the Cycle Know Your IX U.S. Department of Education: Dear Colleague Letter U.S Department of Education: Know Your Rights U.S. Department of Education: Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault in Schools - Resources and a Call to Action Aforementioned student handbooks of local Catholic diocesan high schools Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

Barbara DiGangi
737 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Government of Alberta, The Honorable David Eggen, The Honorable Rachel Notley, Mr. Brian Jean, Mr. Mark Smith, The Honourable Marlin Schmidt, Mr. David Swann, Mr. Wes Taylor, Mr. Ric McIver, Mr. Greg Clark

Reform Alberta's Sexual Education Curriculum to Encompass Consent and Sexual Assault

I graduated from high school in Alberta in 2015. I completed the Career and Life Management 20 (CALM) course in grade 10. As a part of CALM, we received a lesson in sexual education from an educator from a local sexual health resource center. I remember learning about how to prevent pregnancy and contracting STIs but don't remember learning too much about consent, different types of abuse and what to do when one has experienced sexual assault. This past year was my first at Queen's University. I'd heard news stories about the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses in North America, but I never thought that I, or anyone I knew, would ever experience it. Then I learned that one of my closest friends at Queen's had been assaulted during her first week of university. Thankfully, some of our friends knew what to do in that event, which was to go to the hospital to access what is commonly referred to as a "rape kit" to collect DNA evidence as well as access emergency contraception and other medications. The scary thing is I never learned what to do in the event that I or a friend were to experience sexual assault. The only reason I now know what to do in the event of assault is because my friend was raped, not because I learned it in my sexual education course. Sexual assault can affect anyone at any time, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. According to Alberta's Minister of Education, Hon. David Eggen, the province is currently undergoing a curriculum redesign of the CALM course to focus it more on health and wellness. We need to speak up and let our legislators know that Alberta students deserve proper knowledge about consent, sexual abuse, and assault. While it is critical to teach students about how to cope with the aftermath of sexual violence, it is equally as important to teach them about consent. No one ever has the right to touch another’s body without their permission. Students must understand that renewed consent is required with each sexual activity that ensues. Consent is not only required out of principle, but also by Canadian law. It is critical that students understand the legal aspects of consent and how it plays a role in healthy sexual encounters. To address this critical issue, I ask that the Alberta government take the following measures: 1) Teach students about the value of consent and when it is valid/invalid (i.e., how the role of drugs/alcohol can negate consent). Students should be taught exactly what constitutes consent under Canadian law. Additionally, students should be informed of their right to say "no" to unwanted sexual interactions and should be empowered to do so. 2) Integrate information about sexual assault into Alberta's sexual health education classes. This means addressing what constitutes sexual assault (which can occur in forms other than heterosexual intercourse), what to do in the event that an assault occurs (e.g., getting a sexual assault evidence kit, also known as a "rape kit"), what the victim's options are (e.g., pressing charges/not pressing charges and other legal options), and where they can go to get follow-up medical and psychological assistance. 3) Ensure that schools convey this information to students consistently across the province. Every child should receive the exact same quality of education. This applies to one's sexual health education, too. 4) Develop an explicit set of learning outcomes and a framework that can be consistently followed by all sexual health classes in Alberta. Ensure that these learning outcomes are explicit and easy to understand by parents, students, and teachers. 5) Ensure that the new curriculum is inclusive for all. Consent is necessary for all sexual encounters, regardless of the sexual orientation or gender of the parties involved. 6) Require  instructors who teach about sexual health be trained to do so. There is currently no legislation mandating that teachers who teach Career and Life Management be trained to teach the course. This applies to the sexual health component of the course. It is both legal and feasible for a teacher with no professional training in how to deliver information about sexual health to do so. 7) Post-secondary education institutions in Alberta should mandate that all incoming students (including first-year students and transfer students) should undergo a mandatory discussion about consent, the reality of sexual assault, and the resources available to those who may experience sexual violence. 8) Require all post-secondary institutions across Alberta (and the rest of Canada, for that matter) to develop sexual assault policies to help combat the prevalence of sexual violence. Sexual violence is a horrible reality that too many Canadian students will face. Our government has the power to make the new curriculum more informative and useful to all of Alberta's students. Tell Rachel Notley, Education Minister David Eggen, and your MLA that your sexual health education matters! You can find this campaign on social media under the name Right2Know. You can find it on Facebook at facebook.com/Right2KnowAlberta as well as on Twitter and Instagram at @Right2KnowAB. For inquiries, please email right2knowalberta@gmail.com.

Natasha Kornak
20,054 supporters
Update posted 6 days ago

Petition to New York State Department of Corrections Parole Board, http://www.doccs.ny.gov/letters.html

Keep Linda Demers' Murderer Behind Bars

In the early morning hours of October 11, 1992, John Rispoli viciously ended the life of the sweet soul we know as Linda Demers, at age of 44, ending any opportunity life may have afforded her and to us with her in our lives. Noted as one of the most notorious killers in New York State, the "Stretch Pants Strangler" was convicted of 2nd Degree Murder with a sentence of 25 years to Life. He is set to meet with the NY State Parole Board in June of 2017 to make a plea for his release in October of 2017 at the 25 year mark. WE, THE FAMILY, IMPLORE YOU to join our voices to keep him behind bars for the FULL TERM of LIFE.   After Linda had refused the repeated advances of Rispoli who was walking her home, he confessed to having "snapped" at which point he brutalized and strangled her and left her in the grass unconscious on the school grounds of PS 13 in Staten Island, NY. During his travels home on foot, after leaving her unconscious yet still alive, John Rispoli made the conscious decision to go back and (in his words to the detectives) "finish her off". He stripped her naked from the waist down, took her stirrup stretch pants, strung one leg through the other making a noose, flipped her over and ended her life, pulling the ligature tightly, crushing her trachea and stopping her heartbeat forever. He took her purse and shoes home with him (later stating he took them because his fingerprints were on them) and placed them in a closet in a plastic bag. He confessed to not only taking these items but also taking her fingernail home where he flushed it, according to his confession. The Police had him in custody within hours of being called to the murder scene and retrieved the items he'd taken within a short time as well. His skin and blood was found under her other fingernails, some broken and some still intact, as she'd apparently attempted to fight him off during the initial assault. Thankfully, the New York Police Department were relentless in finding her killer and the Staten Island Prosecutor's Office were extremely diligent in putting him where he belonged. In 1994, a Jury of 12 found John Rispoli to be GUILTY of the Murder of Linda Demers and sentenced to 25 Years to Life.   In the matter of the State of New York vs. John Rispoli, the sentencing of 25 Years to Life means that he is eligible to go before the NY State Parole Board starting 25 years after the murder. His hearing is set for June 2017 where he will appeal to the Board of Parole to set him free from the prison walls that have kept so many other "Lindas" safe. Many members of the Family will also be meeting with the Parole Board to implore them to keep him behind bars for the full term of his sentence. Collectively, we all feel that the world is a safer place without John Rispoli roaming free. Many of us feel that due to his former trip to Prison for a brutal assault, he proved that he is not fit for society by committing this heinous crime and therefore should serve the rest of his natural born life where he is: BEHIND BARS. We will be bringing this Petition with Us so PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE WITH ALL YOU KNOW!   Some of you knew Linda. Some of you didn't. Some of you may just know a family member or friend. She was a Daughter, a Sister, a Mother, a Niece, a Cousin, an Aunt, a Grandmother, a Granddaughter and a Friend. She had the biggest heart of anyone you'd ever have met with a contagious laughter and the sweetest disposition. Even if she was none of the above, she did NOT deserve to die in this manner nor did those of us left behind deserve to have her ripped from our lives!   No matter which way you are connected to this case, please support her family and friends in signing this petition to keep John Rispoli in Prison for LIFE.   REMEMBER: PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE WITH ALL YOU KNOW! Make your voices heard! Society is safer WITHOUT John Rispoli free to roam about.   We the Family of Linda Margaret Demers, Sincerely Thank You.  

Lynn Salvatore
1,523 supporters