Sexual harassment rampant in schools

November 8, 2011

Nearly half of America’s middle and high school students report being the target of some form of sexual harassment during the 2010-11 school year, a major national survey suggests.

Students said they were harassed in person or electronically, via texting, email and social media, according to the American Association of University Women.

The pervasive problem greatly affected the study habits and enjoyment of school time for the victims, the study’s authors reported. The actions included hallway whispers, lewd photos on cellphones, hands groping and other sexually-charged actions.

“It’s reached a level where it’s almost a normal part of the school day,” said one of the report’s co-authors, AAUW director of research Catherine Hill. “It’s somewhat of a vicious cycle. The kids who are harassers often have been harassed themselves.”

The survey asked 1,002 girls and 963 boys from public and private school nationwide if they had experienced any such sexual harassment.

The survey quoted one ninth-grade girl as saying she was called a whore “because I have many friends that are boys.” A 12th-grade boy said schoolmates circulated an image showing his face attached to an animal having sex.

In all, 56 percent of the girls and 40 percent of the boys said they had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment during the school year.

The report comes at a time when the problem of bullying at schools is in the spotlight, in part because of several recent suicides of beleaguered students.

Students were asked for suggestions on how to reduce sexual harassment at their schools. More than half favored systematic punishments for harassers and said there should be a mechanism for reporting harassment anonymously.


Loading...

26 Comments

  1. jylpozo says:

    Uniforms for all schools. Less stress for pupils and parents. Kids are at school to learn. Uniforms are not any more expensive than alot of regular clothes. C’mon let’s vote.

    (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
    • Cindy says:

      I agree 100% and have thought schools should require uniforms for years now. It’s time to place emphasis on education and a uniform serves as a reminder about why they are at school 5 days a week. It would be far less expensive for parents because you can get by with 5 uniforms. Try getting a girl to own 5 school outfits! It also would deal with the kids that “aren’t cool” because they can’t afford the designer clothes as well as the kids that dress inappropriately. Heck, I’ve seen 15 year old’s with their hiphuggers and a shirt worn intentionally short to show off their new belly button ring. When I mentioned that they needed to wear a longer shirt they said “NO because I want to show my belly button” (this was for school !). Yet worse, I’ve seen high school girls dressed in the same fashion but they were showing off something else, their birth control patches! I know, you all want to know where was the mother, who knows? There is every reason to switch to uniforms and I can’t think of a single reason not to, including no more worries about “colors”. Welfare will pay for uniforms just like they pay for school clothes and I don’t see where it effects the wealthy in a negative manner either. They can wear the designer clothes after school if they have to make a statement about themselves.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. r0y says:

    While I have no doubts that our progressive society cultivates degenerating moral standards, as evidenced by everything around us (in school and out), it is also far too easy to cry harassment for anyone now-a-days. It is such a pins-and-needles topic for most, that merely an accusation of sexual harassment is enough to end careers whether they are accurate or not.

    It is a tough row to hoe, as there are obviously legitimate complaints and charges; however, I also have seen far too many “questionable” charges.

    In short, it is the overly-sensitive nature we, as a society, place on the topic “sexual harassment” that may itself be contributing to the rise in complaints. The last of our moral beginnings, still clinging to us perhaps.

    (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  3. Typoqueen says:

    I believe it. The schools and the parents are to blame, parents and teachers need to limit what kids are exposed to. No one sticks up for our schools more than me but this is one issue that they’ve failed on. The kids wear trashy clothes. Forget this nonsense about letting them express themselves, all schools should have strict uniform dress codes. I see girls in daisy dukes with their cleavage hanging out and boys that low ride almost down to their knees.

    The way the kids talk is also very disrespectful. I can understand some of the teachers arguments that I’ve heard that it’s too hard to enforce these things because the parents won’t cooperate, the parents are just as much to blame for this. Being a mother of a ton of kids I understand the pressure put on us by society ie TV, music and I understand how persistent kids can be and how it’s easier for working parents to just let the kids do what they want but it’s out of control. It’s very difficult with all of the outside influences but I do believe that a simple fix is school uniforms and a no tolerance policy on foul language, but the parents need to monitor what their kids watch on TV, the computer and what they listen to. The kids are just flat out disrespectful and it’s getting worse and worse.

    (12) 16 Total Votes - 14 up - 2 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      oops typed fast lots of typos.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • Maxfusion says:

      Exactly, and you’re comment on dress code is spot on. My grandchildren attend private school in Scotland which has strict dress and conduct codes. No makeup, no cell phones, no sagging pants, and absolutely no disrespect of teachers or staff is tolerated. By the way, the cell phone ban applies to staff as well. The results, outstanding academic achievement and some of the most courteous young adults you’ll ever encounter. Notice I said “young adults”, because that’s exactly how they conduct themselves.

      (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        I also have relatives in a European private school and they also excel. When adults walk into a room ie teachers the kids all stand up and stop talking, I love it. I also went to school in Europe from K to 4rd grade we did the same thing, stood up when adults walked in and wore uniforms and that wasn’t a private school, it was just how the schools were in Europe. My relatives go to school from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Sounds rough but they do a lot of fun things ie horse back riding, archery and even shooting. But these kids are very respectful, they are only in 1st and 3rd grades, some of my friends think it’s too much but they love school and it will pay off for them in the long run. When I moved over here I was way ahead academically than the kids here and I was shocked at how wild American kids were. Perhaps that’s why I have such strong feelings on the uniform and respect thing.

        For what may be the first and last time, we agree.

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
        • r0y says:

          That is how the military also reacts. Except someone yells “TEN HUT!” when a high-ranking officer (or any officer) walks into a room.

          I wonder if there was some influence from either Europe’s military or ours (post-WWII) that you saw in those schools? Or maybe vice-versa!

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • JackR says:

      The schools are to blame for not doing a parent’s job with teaching their kids how to act in society? How so??

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • r0y says:

        By being as unresponsive as the failed parents? I do not want to be in the “it’s the school’s job” category, but they are not innocent. Just because some parents are failures, does not let the school off the hook. Societal norms should and must be reinforced. If little Johnny sees everyone around him at school NOT pinching little Mary Jane’s behind, and worse, the school punishes him for it, he just might get that it was wrong of papa to do that very same thing to the waitress the other day…

        We’re all in this together (and not collectively, mind you), teach by providing a good example. If a teacher or school just shrugs their shoulders or says, ‘not my problem’ to troubled kids, then it is EVERYONE’s problem in the end.

        Whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together. Except for the home-schoolers… and the private school folks.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • monkscrew says:

      Why is it not the parents job to police what clothes the kids wear? Teachers are there to teach.

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        You and Jack didn’t read my entire post, I understand that, I do go on too long and I have a lot of typos. I don’t put the blame on the teachers, not at all. I put the blame on the parents, school policy and society in general, NOT the teachers. Of course parents should monitor what their kids wear but many kids change when they leave home, they really do, I’ve seen this first hand and it happens quite a bit. The girls hike up their skirts as soon as they leave or/and take off their outer shirt to have a spaghetti strap short top underneath. Schools that require uniforms don’t have these problems. When all kids have to wear the same thing then the kids can concentrate on learning rather than competing with other kids on who can look the trashiest. Uniforms are good for other reasons as well. It also takes away class separations so the poor kids don’t feel awkward or embarrassed but I do understand that class separation is the conservative way, I just don’t believe that it should get in the way of learning and that all kids should have an equal chance when it comes to school.

        Yes the schools should help, it takes a village and the parents can’t do it alone. School is IMO a learning tool for the real world when kids go out and get jobs. If you go to work at the bank dressed like a hoochie then you will be sent home or fired.

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
        • JackR says:

          I did read your entire post. You say schools are to blame for not limiting what kids are exposed to and uniforms is a solution you propose.

          If you had a school with responsible parents that would be one thing but I can’t think of one public school in this area that it would work at without a lot of effort and expense.

          First, the schools would need to supply uniforms to the kids that couldn’t afford them. They would need to stock a supply of uniforms in all sizes so if one kid showed up one day without one, they would need to give them one. You can’t turn away kids from school because they don’t have a uniform. Schools would lose funding for that kid not being in school for one thing. The kids that will show up without uniforms multiple days a week won’t have the type of parents that the school can call that will bring a uniform from home. If the parent or parents are at work, do you expect schools to drive a kid home to pick up their uniform? Or maybe they say they lost their uniforms. Sounds like schools could be responsible for supplying a uniform each day to a kid (I can hear the court case now). . What a logistical nightmare! With schools cutting back in aides, counselors, lunch time monitors, etc. who is going to take the burden of enforcing a dress code/uniform requirement?

          Now saying all that, I do know what one school in the area does. If a kid comes to school wearing something inappropriate, the staff gives them a shirt or sweatshirt from the “lost and found” to wear that day. It’s at a smaller school so they are able to enforce something like this. I don’t know if it would work at a high school like Paso.

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
          • Typoqueen says:

            You are making the uniform issue more of a big deal than it would be. Uniforms are much cheaper for parents then regular clothes. Many times you can buy uniforms at stores such as Kmart. The schools will end up with spares just like they do with PE uniforms. If a kid forgets their PE uniform then they get a loaner. Loaners are uniforms that kids either left there or uniforms that parents donated after their child no longer had PE or has graduated. It works, it’s not rocket science, are you saying that other countries can handle this but we can’t? It would be easier to enforce then the current dress codes. I believe that most parents would welcome this with open arms, especially low income families.

            (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
      • pasoparent5 says:

        Of course the parents are ultimately responsible for the kid’s attire but schools DO set dress codes and hardly EVER enforce them. Por ejemplo, PRHS is rightly concerned about gang attire–red, blue, colors, saggy pants, etc. but girls freely cruise around campus in very low-cut shirts, boobs popping out, wearing low-rise jeans w/butt cracks showing and thongs exposed…you name it, I’ve seen it. And no, I don’t blame the teachers but I DO blame the administration for not enforcing their dress code.

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
        • Typoqueen says:

          If they had uniforms it would be easier to enforce a dress code.

          (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
    • Cindy says:

      Typo, You’ve mentioned that you have a lot of kids in the school systems several times in the past. I just have to ask, how many kids do you have? A “ton of kids” sounds like a lot. Are any of them fostered?

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        Because I know people here, I really can’t say,,but you are on the right track.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
      • Cindy says:

        Well you could a least tell us how many, can’t you? I’m sure plenty of people know the answer to that including your neighbors. I’ve been considering fostering some children maybe 2 girls or 2 boy’s) but I want to be sure they are good kids that haven’t been compromised beyond appreciating someone opening their doors to them, or expecting them to do their home work and choose decent friends to bring home.

        (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
        • Typoqueen says:

          I asked the moderator to send you a note.

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  4. Maxfusion says:

    Sexual harassment, or perception of harassment as defined by sexual harassment industry? Still wondering why California academic standings have fallen from 1st to 46th. “Hallway whispers” should tell you all you need to know about this nonsense. Remember the big lie of the last century “We don’t want to be put on a pedestal, we just want a level playing field”. Rubbish!!

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  5. pasoparent5 says:

    Why is this surprising? Kids today are absolutely bombarded with sexual images on TV, magazines, the internet… Go to the checkout aisle at Target or WalMart. Look at a Cosmopolitan magazine–usually placed eye level so any kid can see. “Kinky Sex”, “How to Achieve a Great Orgasm”, “Get Naked” are plastered all over these magazines. If an adult wants to read it, FINE! But why not have a paper wrap over the cover so kids don’t have to see it?

    Or look at the shows on TV. Glee will have a “go all the way” episode next week where 2 teen couples–1 gay, 1 straight–will finally have sex. If adults want to watch it, FINE! But the show has a huge following of tweens & teens who now get to watch their favorite characters “do it.”. The so-called “family hour” 8-9pm now means TV characters hopping in & out of bed with others and most jokes revolving around sex.

    Again–if adults want to watch/read this stuff–FINE! But don’t be surprised when another study shows that this kind of media saturation can and DOES trickle down into our kids’ lives. Many public schools offer kids graphic sex ed courses, free condoms, instruction that “safe sex” is OK, show them their favorite TV & movie characters being happy & carefree while “exploring the sexuality”…then we wonder why sexual harrassment happens at school??!!

    (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
    • Cindy says:

      I agree with you 100%. On the other hand, kids will be kids. It’s high school and they have raging hormones. Just about anything from a photo, to a conversation to looking at a girls rear end leaves boy’s in an embarrassing situation at that age. People used to call girls that hung around the guy’s whores when I was in high school (won’t tell you how long ago) too, they also wrote slut in the girls room and they certainly would have photo shopped photo’s like the one we just heard about if the technology had existed. To a large extent, I think it’s a part of growing up and through this, we learn techniques to manage our sexuality when we are out in the world later including the do’s & dont’s, or the fastest way to send the wrong message about ourselves. Just saying that to an extent, I think it’s natural.
      I don’t think it’s right and I know it can go too far but a little of it is normal.

      (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
      • pasoparent5 says:

        Sadly it’s not just high schoolers, Cindy. It’s just not “natural” to see & hear some of the things my younger kids are exposed to in 4th, 5th & 6th grade; the sexual terms they pick up from fellow classmates are mind-blowing. And there are no “techniques to manage sexuality” when you’re talking about elementary schoolers. There’s a blatant push to sexualize children in our culture and it’s more evident year by year. [I know that’s not what your point is; I trust you’re not the type to dress your 3rd grader as Katy Perry, Beyonce, or a French maid for Halloween]

        (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
        • Typoqueen says:

          I don’t know if you have teens yet but try and buy your teen daughter something that’s not revealing. It’s very difficult to buy clothes that are IMO age appropriate. Most of the clothes seem to be for adult women or/and hookers.

          (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
          • pasoparent5 says:

            YES, so true. Some of the teen shirts are basically lingerie. But I search & search ’til I find something fashionable but modest.

            (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down

Comments are closed.