>Many Connecticut may be shocked to learn just how prevalent the problem of sexual harassment and abuse has become in our nation’s k-12 schools. Author Hope Jahren was horrified and unprepared by the response she received following an op-ed she penned for the New York Times. The piece written by Jahren dealt with sexual harassment on college campuses. But many of the responses she received can only be described as first-hand descriptions of child sex abuse.
One woman who answered Jahren’s op-ed says that she was in the seventh grade when the dean of students at her school would routinely summon girls accused of “uniform violations” to his office. The offense was often a skirt that was considered a bit short and the dean would measure the distance between the hemline of the skirt and the knee of the offending student with his hand.
The same woman that provided this information also described an experience with a substitute teacher who licked his fingers before using it to smooth her eyebrows when she was in high school. The same substitute teacher made an inappropriate comment about massaging the student’s cellulite once she grew old.
The evidence shows that the woman providing this commentary is not alone in her experiences. In addition to the numerous response received by Jahren, the American Association of University Women conducted a 2011 study that revealed nearly half of students from 12 to 18 years old report at least one incident of sexual harassment.
Children and teenagers possess the right to pursue an education without facing the threat of sexual harassment or abuse of any kind. The parent of a child who has been harassed by another student or employee at school may benefit from speaking with an attorney regarding the incident.