NO MORE Sexual Harassment in K-12 Schools
The #MeToo movement has focused on sexual harassment in the workplace, but sexual harassment begins much earlier. Middle and high school students say that sexual harassment from classmates, teachers and staff is a regular occurrence at school, that it is not taken seriously, and that perpetrators are rarely held accountable. The NO MORE K-12 video series features local high school students talking about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in school.
Facts about sexual harassment in school:
- While any student can experience sexual harassment, girls are targeted more frequently than boysi with girls of color experiencing higher rates of being kissed or touched without their consent.ii And, the majority of LGBTQ students have experienced some form of harassment at school.iii
- More than 20% of middle school age male athletes admit to having sexually harassed someone in the last three months.iv
- More than half of 7th-12th grade girls have experienced some form of sexual harassment.v
- Sexual harassment takes a toll on girls’ education. Girls who are harassed may have trouble sleeping, not want to go to school, or change their route to get to school. They are less productive at school and may be absent more often.vi
- Schools have a legal obligation to protect students from sexual harassment, to intervene when it occurs and to take steps to prevent sexual harassment from happening. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Title IX requires schools to take steps to prevent and respond to sexual harassment including sexual violence.vii
- If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment, you can get free and confidential support.
- Women’s Law Project operates free consultation for victims of sexual harassment or assault.
- National Women’s Law Center offers resources including #MeTooK12
- Know Your (Title) IX offers this Know Your Rights information for students about sexual harassment in high schools.
- An Open Letter to the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education_May 21 2018
Student activists across the region have been speaking out against sexual harassment in schools. They have been supported by a coalition of individuals and organizations urging changes in school policy and practice, and for adults in school and at home to take sexual harassment seriously. This coalition is the Black Girls Equity Alliance (BGEA), a network of organizations convened by Gwen’s Girls and which includes Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, Women’s Law Project, Planned Parenthood of Western PA, FISA Foundation, Women and Girls Foundation, Office of Child Development, and researchers from area universities as well as individual advocates.
Group: Sexual harassment “rampant” in Pittsburgh Public Schools
WTAE, May 21, 2018
i Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, AAUW, 2011.
ii Stopping School Pushout for Girls Who Have Suffered Harassment and Sexual Violence, National Women’s Law Center, 2017
iii The 2015 National School Climate Survey, GLSEN, 2016
iv unpublished data from the Coaching Boys into Men: Middle School study, provided on April 26, 2018. Abebe et al. A cluster-randomized trial of a middle school gender violence prevention program: Design, rationale, and sample characteristics. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2017; 62: 11-20.
v Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, AAUW, 2011.
vi Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, AAUW, 2011.
vii US Department of Education, office of civil rights.