Hundreds of high school students in San Francisco recently staged a walkout to protest officials who they claim ignored sexual harassment claims. Students gathered at San Francisco City Hall, chanting and holding signs that read “No means No.”
Aliyah Baruch, a Lowell High School senior and one of the organizers, stated that “people have been pushing for changes for so long, and the school hasn’t listened.
Baruch stated that it’s to the extent where we need to lose our own education in order to tell SFUSD that there needs be change. District officials acknowledged the problem and said they were working to address student demands and support those who report incidents.
Students said that sexual harassment and assault are not new issues. This was happening even before the pandemic. It happened online, and it has continued since August when students resumed in-person learning. Students from several high schools in the district have joined together to use social media and message boards online to support and coordinate their efforts.
The youth “me too!” movement has been revived. It spread from one high school and offered students a sense of empowerment to address the ongoing sexual assault crisis. This report contains shocking statistics that show thousands of attacks on women, and how they are increasing.
It is unclear if there are more incidents of harassment and assaults or a greater awareness of these issues. The most recent national data shows that there were 14,938 reported incidents of rape, attempted, or sexual assaults in K-12 schools during the 2017-18 school year.
Noble is joining a growing list of experts who recognize the devastating impact on young people when schools were closed and children were isolated at home during the coronavirus epidemic.
Both Myrna and Hillary Melgar, school supervisors, spoke at the rally.
Ashley Chan, a Lincoln High School senior said, “Being safe in school is a minimum.” “It is impossible to be the person that I want to be if I don’t take action.”
Vince Matthews, School Superintendent, sent a letter to the families informing them of the problem. Matthews said that sexual harassment is not allowed in schools. Matthews stated that SFUSD is committed to taking all necessary steps to prevent, address, and remedy any instances of sexual harassment in schools. Matthews stated that the district will convene an advisory group for students on sexual harassment.