A girl gets home from school and is sitting in her room while scrolling on her phone. She sees she has a new message and opens it. She is immediately uncomfortable to see that a peer from school has asked her for unsolicited sexual photos. She ignores the message and hopes it doesn’t happen again.
Sexual harassment is a prevalent issue right now. Not only adults, but high school students are experiencing it.
“I think sexual harassment can be defined in more ways than one. It doesn’t always have to be physical, and in fact, a lot of times it can be verbal. Verbal harassment and objectification are what I see most of at school. I know girls personally who have been verbally harassed and only spoken to by certain boys when they were making inappropriate comments,” sophomore Savannah Muldoon said.
Sophomore Noah Erickson says that although one typically assumes that only males are guilty of sexual harassment, there are females who are guilty, as well.
“Sometimes sexual comments are made that are meant to be positive or a compliment, but they often make a person feel embarrassed and insecure. When the person explains that they are uncomfortable, and the comments are still made, then it has become harassment,” Muldoon said.
Officer Tony Schaber says that sexual harassment is not a new issue and occurred when he was in school, as well.
When a student has to be disciplined for harassment, he says he informs them on the seriousness of the issue and in-school suspension may be necessary depending on the severity and whether or not the harassment stops.
Sophomore Natalie Lambert says that social media and texting are where a lot of harassment takes place. “It’s like a trend now for people to repeatedly ask other people for [sexual photos] that the person being asked doesn’t want to send.”
Lambert says that students who are proven guilty of harassing others should have to discuss the issue with the counselor.
She says that parents should do a good job of educating their children about respect. She also says that there should be a discussion held at the school on the importance of understanding what sexual harassment is, and the “level of disrespect” it holds.
“It’s imperative that we understand the boundaries of everyone,” Muldoon said. “As soon as we do, this issue will go away.”