A Network Connecting School Leaders From Around The Globe
According to Advocates for Youth, roughly 46% of all high school students in the U.S. and 62% of seniors in high school have already had sex. However, only 24 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education in schools and only eight states and the District of Columbia require mention of sexual assault or consent in these programs.
However, the discussion of consent does not have to be mandated or limited to sex education classrooms. Most students are likely aware of the ongoing public discussion about consent and the #MeToo movement. The discussion is in entertainment news and the confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court. At its root, the discussion is about respect for oneself and others, a discussion that is worthwhile in any context.
The legal issues related to sexual activity connect to discussions of civics and current events. Teaching about sexual harassment also has a role in the teaching of soft skills for future employment. As students are made aware of the laws concerning consent and sexual harassment, schools also need to be prepared to deal with the reporting of such issues. The Chicago Public Schools, for example, has faced allegations that officials didn't do enough to protect students from sexual violence and earlier this year, created a new Office of Student Protections and Title IX to better respond to complaints. School and district leaders may also want to have similar discussions with teachers to prevent allegations against them as well.