Children spend most of their time in schools. Very few hours are spent with their family members and any other close relative not at close. In the school environment there are many students, teaching and other administrative staff with different characters and background. Different school’s experience can make a child to be proud of being in that school, while certain experience will leave a child with a scar that wont heal easily or forever. One such experience is sexual harassment.
This essays paper looks into some incidents of sexual harassments in schools, its effects to the victim and how such cases can be avoided in schools.
Sexual harassment is a real fact taking place in schools both at an elementary, secondary schools, college levels as well as universities. The student harassed will be negatively affected disregard of the student’s sex, age or race. The effect can go as far as affecting the career objective of the victim.
Sexual harassment has been taking place in all school activities such as, sports or academic programs. The harassment takes place in dormitories, classrooms, offices, cafeterias and other places within the school compound.
Forms of sexual harassment in schools.
School employees have been reportedly been making students give into sexual advances so as to be allowed to participate in certain activities. Teachers also make students to give into sexual advances so as to be given good grades in class work. This has been especially case with teachers dealing with subjects that are found to be tough to the student. Therefore if a student does not give in to the teacher’s demands, many have been going ahead and failing the students. To those who give in, it still causes a lot of trauma to the students despite the fact that they have passed the exams as promised. For instance, Jane is a student in high school. She has been performing poorly in math’s class. Her teacher one time asked her out to talk about her case. The teacher kept on telling her how beautiful she was, and that he could make her improve her grades if she slept with him. Though Jane has not yet made up her mind, it is a difficult situation, as she wants to get good grades, yet the demand from her teacher is too much for her to meet. This has left her in a dilemma not knowing what to do.
Many other students have also undergone sexual harassment in the hands of their colleagues. There have been cases of students who have reported to new schools receiving hostile environment from their colleagues either in senior grades or even in the same class. This hostile environment includes touching and caressing the body of the victim forcefully by the offenders. Other students harass their fellow students even though they are not new to that school. For example, in Joshua’s school, there are a group of girls that have been giving him constant attention. They usually send him sexually explicit notes, blow kisses at him and rub against him in the hallway (http://www.equalrights.org/publications/kyr/shschool.asp). The girls waits for Joshua whenever he alights from the school bus, and whenever he gets out of class. While at home, some one keeps calling and asking for him and hangs up. Joshua suspects the mysterious callers to be the girls. Every afternoon, they drive past his house. At first, Joshua thought it to be a joke but it has now gone to an extend that he can not stand them anymore and thus tries to do anything to avoid their presence, even if it implies faking sickness so as not to go to school.
In schools, there are also cases of other students (or even employees) making comments about another student’s body. This might be taken as a joke by those making such comments while in the real sense, this advances ends up causing the victim to have low esteem about their bodies and thus generally be disturbed in other school activities. Furthermore, there have been increased cases of making sexual accusations and remarks other students. The false accusation makes students to take decisions that are not prudent so long as they avoid embarrassment. This might include dropping out of school altogether.
Students are also facing a lot of sexual harassment in schools from their fellow students through the display of nude pictures, or sex related objects. This has been now on the rise especially with the increased technology as many youths can access such materials easily from the internet and forward them to the unsuspecting victims through their emails or even through the short message service in the phones. It is a common mode of sexual harassment as it is not possible to control neither the Internet use nor the contents of the Internet material that the youth come in contact with.
How to control sexual harassment in schools.
The federal law has provided a provision that controls and lays down guidelines to avoid sexual harassment in schools. The law is found in Title IX of the 1972, Education Amendment Acts. The Act prohibits any person to be discriminated against receiving or participating in school activities on the basis of sex. The Act makes the schools to put forward policies that deal with sexual discrimination, especially sexual harassment in schools from any group of persons.
There are no possible way parents or school administration can know that a student is being harassed without him/her reporting the matter to them. It is also very annoying and discouraging if the student reports to the administration and no action is taken. This will give the offender more room to do the same again, while it will make the offender not to report such matters again as he/she will be certain that no action is going to be taken after all.
Therefore, it is important that both parents and the school administration be in constant check to know if the students have been sexually harassed. One best indicator is the academic performance, and change in student behavior. When they recognize any mysterious behavior among the students, especially in academic drop, the parents should try to know if there is a problem behind it. The administration of the school should also adopt a policy that does not in any way tolerate the sexual harassment advances made to any student. In this case, there shall be completely minimal or no cases of sexual harassment in schools. The law enforcement should also be very strict on the offenders so that such cases are not repeated.