Sexual Harassment

Jhaila Moore

  1. Image result for harassment at schoolSexual harassment is a serious problem for students at all educational levels. Students in elementary and secondary schools, as well as vocational schools, apprenticeship programs, colleges and universities can be victims of sexual harassment. This problem is more common than you might think because many students are scared or too embarrassed to report sexual harassment. It is different from flirting, playing around, or other types of behavior that you enjoy or welcome. Sexual harassment can be requests for sexual favors or unwelcome sexual behavior that is bad enough or happens often enough to make you feel uncomfortable, scared or confused and that interferes with your schoolwork or your ability to participate in extracurricular activities or attend classes.

Sexual harassment can be verbal (comments about your body, spreading sexual rumors, sexual remarks or accusations, dirty jokes or stories), physical (grabbing, rubbing, flashing or mooning, touching, pinching in a sexual way, sexual assault) or visual (display of naked pictures or sex-related objects, obscene gestures). Sexual harassment can happen to girls and boys. Sexual harassers can be fellow students, teachers, principals, janitors, coaches, and other school officials.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions, programs, and activities that receive federal financial assistance. The law applies to any academic, extracurricular (student organizations and athletics), research, occupational training, and other educational programs from pre-school to graduate school that receives or benefits from federal funding. Under Title IX, schools are required to have and distribute policies against sex discrimination, and these policies which must specifically address sexual harassment. Title IX requires schools to provide an effective means for promptly and appropriately responding to sexual harassment complaints. Finally, it is illegal to intimidate, threaten, or coerce a person who has exercised rights or taken action to enforce Title IX.
Sexual harassment is a serious issue. Many students who have been sexually harassed report a drop in their grades, and some students have had to transfer to a different school, drop classes, or leave school altogether. If you think you are being sexually harassed, it is important to tell someone who can help you stop it. Here are some things you and/or your parents can do:

  • Don’t Blame Yourself.
  • Say “No” Clearly.
  • Write down what happened.
  • Report the harassment (VERY IMPORTANT).
  • Consult the school grievance policies and Title IX officer.
  • File a Complaint With a Government Agency.
  • File a Lawsuit.

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