Do elementary, middle schools need student sexual harassment policies?

I am used to seeing anti-bullying policies in school handbooks but I have never before this year seen sexual harassment policies.  I’m not sure if I have missed them in the past or they just haven’t been there.

My 10-year-old has started at a new charter school that includes a middle school and high school so I am wondering if those policies are more for the older kids but they just give them to everyone or are they really concerned about fifth or sixth graders sexually harassing a classmate?

When I was reading over it with Walsh, he was looking at me like I was crazy. He had no idea what they were talking about.

So did you get any sexual harassment statements in your elementary handbooks, middle school or high school handbooks?

Do you think they are necessary? Should teens be able to figure out these types of relationships out without fearing suspension or expulsion? Or are the kids today that out-of-control and persistent? What types of behavior have you seen that would qualify? Is it all through social media and phones or in person on the school grounds?

23 comments Add your comment

A Realist

August 6th, 2013
4:46 am

Ahh, gotta love political correctness:)

Mayhem

August 6th, 2013
6:50 am

I am so thankful I don’t have to deal with this crap anymore!!!

catlady

August 6th, 2013
7:03 am

Middle school–absolutely! Elementary, yes, at least for 4th graders. It seems to start when girls’ bodies start changing.

When we were in Athens, we discovered there was NO student/student sexual harassment policy! My daughter was being harassed and even touched. When I complained, I was told there was no rule about handling it. It took my daughter, speaking to the school board TWICE to get an adequate policy in place!

What my daughter found out was that she could be strong,and confront her tormentors, and she had a number of teachers giving her support. The rules spread to the middle school, as there were significant problems there.

CC

August 6th, 2013
7:17 am

Sadly, yes. Children learn things at an early age from TV, movies and older siblings. They may not fully understand what they are doing but they do display the behavior at school.

SMH

August 6th, 2013
7:22 am

Yes! If you don’t think so then you are completely clueless. Just think of it this way. All the stupid people (bullies included) that you went to school with now have kids. More than like they have several and they are in school with your kids bringing all the years of stupidity from their parents with them. So that sexually aggressive guy or girl you have met…they probably have kids that they are teaching and showing this same behavior to. A lot parents don’t parent anymore. They’re trying to create club buddies.

K's Mom

August 6th, 2013
7:45 am

This seems absurd to me, but I have very young children and the comments about the folks that were bullies that now have kids make sense.

My hope is that they do not police things to the point that an innocent hug between friends becomes taboo. I guess I can see having some guidelines, but I hope that the guidelines do not take all human emotion out of the school day and the no common sense “zero tolerance” policies will do just that.

Sunny

August 6th, 2013
7:52 am

There needs to be something in place. I remember being tormented in elementary and middle schools because I was well endowed (I was wearing a C cup bra in the 5th grade) and no one did anything to stop it. I got into fights all of the time trying to defend myself from silly boys who thought I was a part of a petting zoo and couldn’t keep their hands to themselves.

The only thing that stopped it was having my father come to the school and speak with some of the boys directly.

i LOVE...

August 6th, 2013
7:57 am

oh, it’s necessary. sad. but necessary.

Mayhem

August 6th, 2013
8:03 am

When did holding hands and hugging become sexual harrassment? Accusing a 6 year old of sexual harrassment is absolutely ABSURD. They don’t even know what it is.

The wussification of America continues.

Say What?

August 6th, 2013
8:13 am

“He had no idea what they were talking about.” – yep, in TWG’s world her 10 year old son REALLY has her completely fooled…

Young Lady

August 6th, 2013
8:21 am

Yes the policies are needed in elementary school. But I disagree with the assumptions only older children can be sexually harassed. I was 7 when I was sexually harassed and it’s still hard to talk about because of the horrible feelings associated with it.

Having the rules and going over them with your children helps them to deal this type of behavior if it were to occur. It also outlines there is a response for this from the administration which is something I didn’t have dealing with my sexual harassment. You want the administration backing you because it’s harder to fight against this behavior with no support from them.

HB

August 6th, 2013
9:04 am

Yes, and it’s not because things are worse these days. We needed these policies back in the day too. Mayhem, holding hands and hugging are sexual harassment when the receiver doesn’t want them and the other person won’t respect that, but if you think that’s the only form of sexual harassment that can occur at a young age, you are wrong. I don’t think a 6-year-old should be immediately suspended under these policies, but such an issue should be addressed with even young children to ensure the behavior stops.

Blessed

August 6th, 2013
11:50 am

Yes, definitely. However, It’s not political correctness that is driving the need, but people who want to believe a need does not exist. Some people do not monitor what their kids are learning from other kids, siblings, tv and all other forms of entertainment.

FCM

August 6th, 2013
12:20 pm

Quick search online shows Gwinnett’s Student Handbook (for k -12), page 7:

“The Gwinnett County Board of Education does not and will not tolerate harassment of our students or employees. The term “harassment” includes, but is not limited to, slurs, jokes, and other verbal, graphic, or physical conduct relating to an individual’s race, ethnic group, color, gender, religious belief, national origin, citizenship, age, or disability. “Harassment” also includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, unwelcome or offensive touching, and other verbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”

So yes, the schools at all levels have the policy.

EdUktr

August 6th, 2013
12:36 pm

If you’re still sending your children to traditional public schools you need instead to find the resources to send them elsewhere.

iRun

August 6th, 2013
1:05 pm

I am 38 years old. I developed early – boobs and a period in the 4th grade and I remember the boys sneaking quick feels and how it made me feel – violated and ashamed of my body. The adults around me had no idea it was going on AND I wasn’t about to tell them – I didn’t want to be a snitch and I somehow thought I deserved it because I was one of two girls in the grade with boobs. I just suffered through it. The other girl got herself fat and the boys stopped trying to grab her and started making fun of her.

So, you better believe I’ve talked with my son, who is my only child, about respecting girls bodies and never touching unless invited to do so. And, based on conversations with him, kids in his middle school (he’s now 7th grade) are absolutely and without a doubt crossing those boundaries. Because adults are not teaching them yet where the boundaries are and what the consequences are for not respecting them.

Harassment is NOT about some unreal ideal of hugging and hand holding. It’s about hands off unless I say otherwise.

Grasshopper

August 6th, 2013
2:43 pm

Let’s see what’s on the front page of AJC.com, shall we?

– Megan Fox gives first glimpse of baby bump

– Where did Brody Jenner party in Atlanta?

– Pink lashes out at haters after gay comments

– Photos: Princeton Review’s top 20 party schools

– Photos: Past ‘Bachelors,’ ‘Bachelorettes’

– D-list stars turn to adult films

– DVD cover comes under fire for being sexist, racist

Now ask your headline question again. Why would we not teach kids about sexual harassment when they are bombarded with the incessant garbage that appears on all of our media today?

Alecia

August 6th, 2013
3:24 pm

i had to confront a fellow parent about a boy that was grabbing my daughter’s crotch in the 3rd grade. If I did not have a good relationship with the other parent, this would have been an issue for the principal to figure out. Surprised that the parent never explained right from wrong. So, yes policies need to be in place.

Once Again

August 6th, 2013
3:25 pm

Homeschool your children. If sexual harassment is happening in THAT classroom you have bigger problems. Its time to face the fact that the government is in no position to adequately protect or educate your child while in their custody (yes, I mean custody) every day. Get your children out of this situation while there is time to correct the harm that has already been done.

K's Mom

August 6th, 2013
3:54 pm

Wow, I hate that so many dealt with grabbing at such young ages. I told a friend recently that when I found out I was having sons, my initial thought was “great, I do not have to worry about provocative clothing and all that goes with it.” Now I realize, I have a far more important job than policing clothes, but to teach my sons respect and boundaries. Parents of sons are not doing a great job with this and I plan to instill respect in my sons and started as soon as they could walk and talk.

@Once Again, I am sure homeschooling works well for your family, but it does not for every family. There are great public schools out there, you just have to be willing to locate them. That meant moving away from Atlanta for us (and not all Atlanta schools are bad). But your baiting does nothing for the topic.

Tim

August 6th, 2013
4:04 pm

Theresa get a clue.

Absolutely, middle school harassment is worse that the high school level.

Voice of Reason

August 6th, 2013
7:47 pm

Absolutely….home school your children. Who needs social skills anyway?

SMH

August 6th, 2013
8:59 pm

Bad things happen to home schooled children too. Don’t EVER think that it is the be all end all solution because it isn’t. Some of the same stuff goes on with home schooled kids, its just handled under the radar. Many home school Co-Ops have similar rules as public and private schools when it comes to dress codes and behavior. This I know personally.

Home school does not equal academic genius or higher morality.