Parents: Sexual Harassment in School? Talk to Your Child

Gone are the days that a child could do or say things sexually to another child and not pay consequences for his or her actions. You may have been the child victimized by: sexual advances, sexual name-calling and requests for sexual favors back when you were in school.

Back then, you may not have bothered to tell anyone, because “it wasn't no big deal all the kids did it” or you didn't want to get in trouble for ay part you may have played in the sexual conduct. Now, you have children and you hope and pray they aren't sexually harassing anyone or being harassed.

Sexual harassment in schools is illegal under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. A sexual harasser may be a school employee, peer, tutor, or visitor.

Types of sexual harassment include: unwanted sexual advances, touching, graffiti, sexually explicit drawings, pictures and written materials, sexual jokes, gesture, touching one's self sexually, or talking about one's sexual activity or spreading rumors.

When a child complains about sexual behavior occurring at school, he or she should report it. A school official will ask questions like, “What happened? Who was involved? When did this occur and where? Were there any witnesses? Did you tell any adults about the behavior?”

Incidents that are reported to school officials are supposed to be promptly investigated. If the incident is proven actions are to be taken against the harasser.

To learn more, contact the Office of Civil Rights 1-800-421-3481.

By Nicholl McGuire

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