Addressing Sexual Harassment and Harm
All too often Berkeley High students are sexually harassed by their peers, both on and off campus. Here is some information on how it is being addressed at Berkeley High.
Green Dot is an organization of students who are trained in what specific actions to take if they hear or witness displays of bullying sexual harassment/assault. New students are selected by existing student members of Green Dot and are pulled from school for a day for training to learn how to handle these situations. Green Dot predominantly teaches students how not to be a bystander and instead take safe actions in order to aid in defusing or stopping the situation that is occurring.
The Green Dot bystander intervention program is a nationwide program. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Dot_Bystander_Intervention
There’s more information about Green Dot at Berkeley High on Instagram: @greendot.bhs.
Berkeley High Stop Harassing
BHS Stop Harassing (BHSSH) was formed by BHS students in 2014 to provide peer education and push for more explicit and stronger school policies around sexual harassment. BHSSH provides students a safe environment to talk about their experiences being sexualy harassed. Its works to change outdated concepts about sexual harassment, abuse, and harm. Title 9 is one of their main focuses because there is no Title 9 coordinator at BHS, which isn’t allowed. After all, students have problems regarding sexual harassment all the time.
You can find more information about BHS Stop Harassing on Instagram @bhsstopharassing.
Title IX Coordinator
This District position is responsible for coordinating student complaints involving bullying and sexual harassment. The Title IX law states “no person in the U.S shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”.
At Berkeley High, there has been a severe problem with the Title IX office not having the capacity to handle complaints promptly. In February of 2020, Berkeley High students took things into their own hands by organizing a march to the District office and later speaking at a School Board Meeting to have their demands on sexual assault prevention measures heard. One of their demands was to have a dedicated Title IX coordinator at Berkeley High.
Former BHS parent Heidi Goldstein, who helped BHS students establish BHS Stop Harassing, still advocates for BHS students at the District level, and has written this article for the PTSA website. It is a resource to help students and their families better understand the District’s obligations and know where to start when sexual harassment is experienced.