Thursday, April 23, 2009

Schools and Sex

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:35 AM

A teacher's assistant at Melrose High School recently was charged with sexual battery for allegedly fondled a 15-year-old female student in the computer lab.

This comes just days after the school's assistant principal was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, after an 18-year-old student filmed two other students, both minors, engaging in a sex act.

Which might make one wonder: What is going on at Melrose? And the area's schools?

In 2005, the University of Memphis' Center for Research on Women, in conjunction with the Memphis Area Women's Council and the university's women's and gender studies program, held several monthly meetings where they asked girls 13 to 17 to identify key issues they wanted to change.

Sexual harassment in schools was the predominant issue.

Yesterday, CROW released Nowhere to Hide, a survey of nearly 600 local middle and high school aged girls and boys. Of those, more than 90 percent of the students in the study reported being sexually harassed at least once while in their current school.

The study concluded hat sexual harassment is pervasive in Memphis-area middle and high schools, and that schools are not conducive to students' reporting harassment when it occurs.

It didn't matter much if it was a public or private school.

Girls were more likely to be sexually harassed by student, and approximately one-quarter of the students reported "some experience with sexual harassment from an adult."

Not surprisingly, the study concluded that sexual harassment had a negative impact on students' mental health, body image, self-esteem, and school participation.

"Although researchers have recently begun to investigate sexual harassment as an antecedent of sexual violence, we propose that studies be broadened to include sexual harassment as an antecedent of early and/or risky sexual behavior."

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