Sexual Harassment in School
Sexual harassment can happen at any workplace, doesn’t matter what the job is. It can happen at a minimum wage paying job or at a salary based profession. The profession I will be tackling today is students in all educational levels with teachers, coaches or professors in a school setting. Students can be in college, after school programs, elementary, high school or even pre-school.
Truth is anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment weather it be a male or female and people may find it difficult to believe that it happens at their kids school’s because parents are putting their trust on them as professionals to watch and teach them while they’re away. The main problem is, majority of the times students keep quiet simply because they’re too scared or embarrassed to report it. If something is said or physically done to you that feels uncomfortable to the point that it interferes with your school work or where sexual favors are requested, it can even be dirty jokes or gestures all fall under sexual harassment which happens more than you think according to this article from California where it explains a handful of cases where teachers over step their boundaries.
Every school is supposed to have a written policy against sexual harassment that is supposed to be handed out to all students, parents and faculty where it explains how to pursue sexual harassment charges and how to deal with it. In the article, one of the stories told by a student whose name was Elisha started off with it just being a friendly teacher and student relationship. She used a wheel chair and after class would have to wait for her aide to come get her but her teacher would wait with her and indulge in normal conversations at first. Then one day he began to stroke her hair and the conversations began to get uncomfortable for her because he began to ask inappropriate questions. He told her how he was curious if girls like her could have sex and would ask about how her body works, what things she could do. She confronted him telling him those questions were weird so he tried bribing her with a better grade. He would give her an A in the class if she never spoke about it to anyone.
?If a teacher offers you a higher grade in return for something sexual that is also known as pro quo harassment. Which translates to “this for that” but it isn’t always where something is expected to be returned with something that will benefit you there can be cases where it’s a threat and you feel trapped. For example in the article there was a student who was asked to come to her teacher’s classroom after class to discuss her grades and coursework. But when she would go all he would talk about would be how attractive she is and would overstep by placing his hand on her knee and caressing her thigh. He would ask for a hug and began to suggest having these meetings outside of school which would count as extra credit and would be the only way she could have a good grade in the class.
In both cases neither of them reported it to anyone. Which is why it is very important to tell your parents or even a guidance counselor if it’s too embarrassing to tell your parents but it has to be a school official. If you’re informing them verbally make sure to have a written statement too. In some cases action is not taken, where the principal does not respond. That is when you have to go to the school board or superintendent because it is the law to stop sexual harassment of a student but someone with authority at the school needs to know about it. A lawsuit can be filed as well, keep in mind many lawsuits have time limits. Sexual harassment is a major issue and should not be taken lightly, students deserve a safe, welcoming and harass free environment.