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Sunday, October 14, 2018

End K-12 Sex Harassment and Assault #MeTooK12 #MeToo #timesup

Fundraiser by Joel Levin : End K-12 sex harassment and assault

End K-12 Sex Harassment and Assault #MeTooK12

End K-12 sex harassment and assault

If there’s one key takeaway from my years of nonprofit work with families, schools, national organizations, and lawmakers, it’s this: there’s an epidemic of sexual harassment and assault in K-12 schools that is preventable, if only schools knew how to address it. 

I’m raising funds to create affordable online training that educates schools about practical steps they can take right now to end the culture of sexual harassment before students enter college and the workplace.

For me it’s a personal calling. Our entire family life was devastated when our 15-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted on a school field trip. The inequitable and unlawful way in which the school district responded to the assault caused her to feel utterly devalued as a human being.  She was betrayed by her school, which failed to take the required steps  that would have allowed her to continue her education, free of retaliation, after the assault.  Today, six years later, she still suffers from the emotional trauma that derailed her education.

The nightmare of our daughter's sexual assaultLike most parents, we believed our child was safe in the care of her school. But our advocacy on her behalf brought us into contact with countless parents whose children also experienced life-altering sexual harassment and assault. I couldn’t remain silent. 

Three years ago, I co-founded Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, a national nonprofit that spearheaded the movement to educate the public about the epidemic of K-12 sexual harassment and assault.  As Director of Programs, I’ve used my background in education and instructional design to create free educational materials for families including the full-length video  Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! I also helped initiate the national #MeTooK12 campaign, which has been covered widely in the media.

Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! video

Our schools are in crisis. Research shows that sexual assault, ongoing sexual harassment, and cyber-harassment cause real emotional, psychological, and economic damage to students. Feeling unsafe at school correlates with declining academic performance, skipping school, and dropping out. After their school fails to protect them, some students take their own lives. The victims are girls, boys, and gender non-conforming students. It’s a form of discrimination and it’s against Title IX, a federal civil rights law.   

How our school mishandled sexual assault

Most school districts are unprepared to handle sexual assault incidents--both legally and compassionately. School districts often believe they can avoid lawsuits and bad press by denying or ignoring sexual harassment and assault in their schools.  Schools often retaliate against families and their own staff who report incidents of student harassment and assault.  Because school districts fail to follow the proper procedures, they end up harming the very students they’re supposed to serve.

Schools are unprepared to handle reported sexual assault

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