By Raven Gann
Oakland High students were educated about sexual harassment during their English classes Thursday, February 12 by their English teachers and a Wellness Center staffer.
English teachers paired up with staff from the school’s Wellness Center to explain to students the difference between sexual harassment and flirting. While in some classes, students giggled at the subject, other classes kept a more serious tone . Regardless of the behavior of the students, the teachers kept their composure and maintained the conversation about sexual harassment.
Many students did not have a full understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment. Teachers gave a general idea of what sexual harassment is, including physical, verbal, and visual harassment.
“A lot of it happens here,” said Tehyaunah Todd, a junior. “It has happened to me.”
This is not an issue that Oakland High School faces alone. Students at Berkeley High School are advocating for administrators to address the sexual harassment that occurs on their campus.The school’s sexual harassment problem has become public within the last fourteen months, and students are seeking change. In one instance, a girl told school staff that she saw that she and other girls were being labeled as “sluts” on social media websites. Instead of investigating her complaint, the school staff, who were male, asked her if the labels were accurate.
Students are protected under Title IX which states “No person in the United States shall, on basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under and education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Those who have experienced sexual harassment or assault on a school campus where the harasser or assault suspect is under the supervision of the school are able to receive compensation from the school.
Despite the increased focus on awareness, sexual harassment is a serious issue that continues to occur in our world today.
“I don’t think the sexual harassment training will change anything,” Todd said. “We’ve had the same lessons, but I don’t see change.”