As a parent of teenagers in the Kenosha Unified School District, I’ve seen multiple circumstances that lead me to believe sexual harassment in our schools is an inconvenience that district administration would prefer to not have to deal with.
I get it. We all wish sexual harassment wasn’t a thing and it would just go away.
But that’s not functional thinking. It’s not going away. And our community needs to be sure that we’re having these issues in our schools reported and acted upon reliably.
I am not confident that were I to ask the school board how many sexual harassment incidents occurred last year, that they would have an accurate number for me.
First, since there is no transparency mechanism to this data, I’d have no way to be sure and would have to take them at their word.
Second, even if there were a report compiled regularly, administrators (directed usually from the top down) have the power to decide what gets officially logged as sexual harassment, or what gets shuffled off as an unofficial complaint.
I want kids to have a reporting mechanism outside of the district so that data can be compared. I think this will help KUSD to understand how imperative it is to be accountable for this data and to have a culture where reports will be taken seriously and officially logged.
If you are experiencing sexual harassment as a student, please don’t shy away from reporting it.
One of the best things to do is to send an email detailing the incident (every time it happens, while the details are fresh) to your principal. Add your parents and, if you like, my email address to the cc line. (I’m at email@example.com). When you send it as an email (instead of verbally reporting it in a one-on-one situation only) then you have a copy of what you sent, the school has a copy of what you sent, and any one you cc has a copy of what you sent. They cannot sweep it under the rug and pretend it wasn’t brought to their attention.
Once you have reported the incident to your school, please also fill out this short form. I can’t guarantee that it will make the school take appropriate action to report it in both places, but it will force accountability if it appears we have a pattern of incidents going unaddressed.