With Trump’s Title IX stance unknown, video aims to educate about sexual harassment at school

National experts on sexual harassment in K-12 schools have teamed up to create a new educational video about gender equality, intended to inform students that they have a legal right to attend a school where nobody is harassed because of their gender.

The timing couldn’t be better, said Esther Warkov, cofounder of the nonprofit group Stop Sexual Assault in Schools, which produced the free video for use by schools, clubs and parent groups. President-elect Donald Trump, who boasted in a 2005 video about his ability to sexually assault women, has “normalized” traumatic harassment, Warkov said, and sent a disturbing message to children and teenagers. And the Republican Party platform has stated its opposition to the Obama administration’s decision to apply legal protections from harassment to students who are gay, transgender or gender nonconforming — including the right of transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.

“Our video explains how detrimental sexual harassment is to students,” she said, “and why schools must take complaints seriously and compassionately.”

The video features well-known gender equality researchers, including Keasara Williams, director of equity and Title IX compliance for the San Francisco Unified School District, and Caroline Heldman, associate professor of politics at Occidental College, who created the popular TED talk “The Sexy Lie” about the objectification of women.

In the 44 years since Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 prohibited discrimination in schools based on sex, the law has come to be understood to applyto students who are being discriminated against because of the way they present themselves in regards to gender stereotypes. With students increasingly coming out at school as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or “gender fluid,” bullying may be defined as discriminatory harassment, which is a civil rights violation. Warkov explained that the video, “Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!”, is an effort to provide the information that most schools do not provide to students, parents and staff.

Trump’s election has some students concerned about an uptick in harassment. “It’s upsetting because I’ve had family members who have been harassed sexually,” said Jasmin Melendrez, 14, a freshman at Fremont High School in Oakland. “It will be easier for men to do that.”

“He’s definitely sexist,” said Max Burk, 15, a Berkeley High School student.

“I’m scared because I’m gay,” said Clementine Gunter, 16, a junior at Berkeley High School. “His vice president believes in gay conversion.” Gay conversion is the practice of subjecting gay and lesbian individuals to a treatment intended to covert them into heterosexuals. The so-called “therapy” is illegal in California. The harm caused by the treatment includes feelings of depression and suicidal ideation.

 

read more: https://edsource.org/2016/with-trumps-title-ix-stance-unknown-video-aims-to-educate-about-sexual-harassment-at-school/573616

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