Sexual Harassment And Parenting

This article is about parenting, sexual harassment and educating children on the new rules that many schools now have. Protect your children!

Four of five students will be a victim of sexual harassment this year. This is a startling statistic that worries many parents. Not only should we educate our children about sexual harassment, but we should also make them aware of what behaviors are considered sexually harassing. Not only to protect our children from harassers, but also to protect them from themselves, all students need to be aware that sexual harassment is illegal and punishable. This is a problem that occurs in all levels of the education system. From elementary schools to college level, students may encounter these damaging behaviors. Schools must make age-appropriate steps to curb sexually explicit and discriminatory behavior.

A school should make the sexual harassment policy known to all students. There should be a set of rules and consequences for breaking the rules. If your school didn't notify you of this policy, inquire it for your own protection. Students and parents must learn to recognize sexual harassment, so that it can be reported. Without notifying school officials, there is no way to curb the behavior.

A student might feel that reporting it would only result in increasing the harassment. Some students feel intimidated by their sexual harasser. Many times they feel too embarrassed to complain. Yes many students are fearful of making complaints about their harasser, but this is the only way it can be stopped. Whether it is another student or a teacher that is making you or your child feel uncomfortable, the same rules apply.

Sexual harassment includes any behavior that is sexual in nature and unwanted by the other student. There are countless different types of this sexually explicit conduct. This can stem from various different types of contact with students. Sexual harassment can take the form of verbal innuendo, physical gestures, name-calling, facial expressions, and touching.

Examples of the following inappropriate behaviors are some examples of sexual harassment:

sexual gestures

sexual "cat calls" and name-calling

sexual or dirty jokes

pressure for sexual favors

unwelcome sexual advances

touching of a sexual nature that is unwanted

graffiti of a sexual nature

displaying or distributing of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, and written materials

touching oneself sexually

clothing that depicts sexual subject matter

talking about sexual activity in front of others

spreading rumors about or rating other students as to sexual activity or performance.

Students should be aware of how their behavior can be considered sexual harassment if it is unwelcome and of a sexual nature. A reference to the size of a student's sexual organs, about a student's body, a lascivious stare, comments on a person's dress, and name-calling that is sexual in nature are all considered sexual harassment. Even constant attempts to ask a person out can be considered sexually harassing. This is because the behavior is unwanted. By educating our children about their rights to a school environment that is free from this type of conduct, we are giving them the best weapon to fight sexual harassment.

Remember to learn your school's sexual harassment policy. Refrain from any sort of sexual reference, and report any inappropriate behavior. Protect yourself and your child from damaging sexual conduct in school through education and self-discipline.


Office for Civil Rights (Department of Education)

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