Presentation on theme: "Harassment & Abuse in the High School Environment Presented by: Andy Yeager… Stephanie Mulfinger, LCSW Coordinator, Bergen County Traumatic Loss Coalition."— Presentation transcript:
Harassment & Abuse in the High School Environment Presented by: Andy Yeager… Stephanie Mulfinger, LCSW Coordinator, Bergen County Traumatic Loss Coalition
All students have a right to receive an education and to attend schools free from abuse and harassment
Civil Rights Act; TITLE IX Federal Law which protects students from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment by a student or faculty member Schools can be held responsible for failing to stop the harassment of a student The school is responsible to take action to stop the harassment once the school becomes aware of the situation
Sexual Harassment … is generally defined as physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and unwanted Is the action unwelcome? Is the action unwanted?
Is this behavior or action unwelcome? Or unwanted? The answer will be determined by: The relationship between the two individuals AND The perception of the individual subjected to the behavior
The relationship is a factor when …. Touching (such as a hug, tap, pat ) or a comment of a sexual nature may, at times, be acceptable among friends. However, this behavior can be viewed as unwelcome sexual harassment!
The perception is a factor when…. Sometimes vague, questionable or even seemingly innocent comments or gestures can be perceived as uncomfortable Especially for those who have a history or past experience with other forms of harassment or abuse
Sexual Harassment... Crosses the line from inappropriate behavior to a criminal act when the behavior is: Severe and Pervasive Obviously Offensive
Severe and Pervasive means… A repeated pattern of behavior that occurs over a period of time A single comment or incident does not constitute harassment, UNLESS
The behavior is Obviously Offensive when… The conduct is so offensive, vulgar or inappropriate that “No reasonable person would perceive the behavior as innocent.” Here, a single comment or gesture could qualify as objectively offensive
Sexual Harassment can be: Verbal Non-Verbal Conduct Physical
Verbal Repeated sexual remarks about a person’s body, clothing, or personal life Frequent sexual teasing Repeated sexual requests or invitations Especially After being told they are unwelcome or unwanted
Non Verbal Conduct Staring, gawking, leering, whistling Posting or displaying sexual materials or pictures Lewd hand or bodily gestures Mimicking sexual expressions or actions
Physical Contact Fondling, grabbing, patting, pinching, slapping, spanking Especially in the breasts, buttocks or genital area Actual or attempted kissing “Accidentally” touching or bumping into another individual
Other Types of Harassment Dating Violence/Abuse from current or previous relationships Bullying Racism
Why doesn’t anybody tell? Anxiety & Worry “What will my friends and family think about me?” “Everyone will think something is wrong with me!” Guilt & Self Blame “It’s my fault, I deserved it!” “I should have said no, I should have stopped it!” Fear, Shame & Embarrassment: “No one will believe me! They will think I liked it!” “It’s my word against theirs!”
What should I do if it happens to me? Remember; this is not your fault. You are not responsible for the actions of another person Talk to someone you trust, you are not alone Tell the person to stop. Let them know their actions are unwelcome and unwanted Try to avoid being alone with this person. Walk away from the situation Try to remember dates and times of the incident(s), tell someone else as soon as possible Report inappropriate behavior to the school, it is difficult to help you if no one knows what is happening. Remember, your school has a policy against sexual harassment and abuse
What should I do if this happens to one of my friends? Try to be supportive and not judgemental Tell them is not their fault and they are not responsible for the actions of another person Encourage them to stay away from the harasser Encourage them to report this to an adult, family member, school official or to the police Tell an adult that you trust about your concerns for this person Don’t spread rumors or false information
What should I do if someone I am dating is being harassed?
What should I do if the person harassing me or my friend is the same gender? Both males and females can be sexually harassed The offender can also be a male or a female Sexual harassment is wrong, regardless of the gender of either person Sexual harassment is unwelcome and unwanted, therefore it has no bearing on the sexual preferences of the person being harassed If someone is harassed by another person, who is the same gender, it does not mean that they are homosexual
How can I feel safe at school? Become familiar with your school’s policy on sexual harassment and know how to file a complaint Follow your school’s policies regarding appropriate behavior Know the counseling and guidance faculty at your school, they are available to help Report any incidents that occur in the school to the faculty and/or to an adult that you trust Once your school is aware of the harassment, they can take action to help and protect you!