MARIN COUNTY (KPIX 5) — In the era of #MeToo, a North Bay school district is taking action after getting complaints from teachers about being sexually harassed, not by their co-workers, but by their students.
Schools in the Tamalpais Union High School District in Marin County are requiring students to take sexual harassment training starting in April. The change comes after teachers came forward with their stories.
“When we look on the national scene and we wonder how the Harvey Weinsteins are made — we’re making them,” said Jessica Crabtree, a teacher at Redwood High School.
These are strong words issued by a woman who claims to know firsthand what sexual harassment feels like.
Crabtree says her harassers are, in fact, her students.
Eva Rieder also teaches in the Tamalpais Union High School District.
“I have been sexually harassed, stalked, intimidated, threatened, bullied and defamed by male students,” she said.
As a result of these women’s statements to the School Board earlier this year, and their allegations that the district wasn’t doing enough to stop the harassment, Superintendent David Yoshihara announced the new curriculum at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
“They need to know,” Yoshihara said. “And I think it’s our job to help them know.
Students will not only learn the definitions of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, they will also learn how to report harassment to the district. Seniors will also learn about the topic of “informed consent.”
“Informed consent is essentially what it means to say ‘no’ and essentially letting the other party know when you have consent,” Yoshihara said.
Though it may mean more homework, the students at Redwood High KPIX spoke to were still on board to learn it.
“I think it can be a good idea if they do it in the right way,” said Kevin Gann, a Senior. “I’m open to almost anything. If people tell me about it, want me to do it, I might go.”
Classmate Russell Camden agrees.
“It’s important because it’s happening to teachers and you can’t feel safe in a learning environment or a teaching environment if you’re getting harassed by the people you are supposed to teach,” he said.
The scope of the harassment, and the mishandling of complaints, will be reviewed by an independent investigator who is an attorney who specializes in hostile workplace issues.
The district has also added a Title IX coordinator as a result of the allegations. Title IX became law in the 70s and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded education programs.