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Preventing Sexual Harassment at School

How schools and families can navigate issues of gender equity, consent, and assault — and help young people learn the elements of a healthy, caring relationship

The #MeToo movement revealed the prevalence of sexual harassment in workplaces across the world, but signs of this epidemic begin to show up in our schools early, in every grade and at every age. Children begin to absorb and reflect pejorative gender norms and beliefs at around the age of 10. Nearly half of all students between grades 7 and 12 report experiencing sexual harassment, often perpetrated by their classmates. And in a recent survey, 87 percent of women reported being catcalled, touched without permission, or insulted with sexualized words.

Meanwhile, too few young people are hearing anything — either at school or at home — about how to form and maintain a healthy, respectful romantic or sexual relationship and how to avoid sexually harassing or assaulting another person.

In this series, we look at the state of sex education and offer guidance for teachers, parents, and schools to respond to incidents of gender bias, sexual harassment, and sexual violence.

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Sex Education that Goes Beyond Sex

A comprehensive sex education program must include talk about relationships, caring, and consent. Here's why — and how to do it.

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Preventing Gender Bias

Gender stereotypes take root early, and parents and caregivers are often stymied by talk of "what boys like" or "what girls are good at." We've got advice on how parents and caregivers can actively speak up and counter the assumptions and bias — starting young.

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Consent at Every Age

Messages about respecting one another's boundaries are helpful and necessary at every educational level. Here, we've collected strategies for talking to students about consent — what it means, how to give and get it — from preschool to high school.

“Whether you are raising children or teaching children, these conversations can make an immeasurable and lasting difference in their lives.”

– Richard Weissbourd

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What to Do About Title IX

The law is large and complex. Here's how to bring your K-12 school into compliance with Title IX regulations — and keep it there with a caring and committed staffing plan.

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The State of Sex Education

Only 24 states mandate sex ed, and far fewer broach topics of consent and healthy relationships. Will our national conversation about sexual assault finally move the needle? We talk with a researcher who surveyed the sex ed landscape in every state.

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Have the Talk — Say More

Young people aren't hearing enough about how to navigate romantic relationships and respond to stereotypes and abusive behavior. Here, concrete strategies and resources, giving adults — parents and educators — the tools for these essential conversations.

 

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