Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Four of Five Schoolkids Experience Sexual Harassment

    continued...

    According to the survey, children said the three most disturbing forms of harassment were having sexual rumors spread about them, having clothing pulled down in a sexual way, and being called gay or lesbian.

    "A lot of kids during adolescence are confused about their sexuality, so if you are being taunted about your sexual orientation, it can be particularly upsetting," Fassler says.

    Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch group last week issued a report giving U.S. schools a "failing grade" in keeping gay and lesbian students safe. The group claims these students face more bullying than any other group in American high schools.

    According to Fassler, surveys indicate that gay and lesbian adolescents are two and half times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight classmates.

    As for solutions to school harassment, Chase says, "Every school needs a formal code of conduct. The code must be clearly communicated to every adult, student, and parent in the school." This code must be strictly enforced, he says, with harassment incidents "immediately confronted."

    The most effective school programs "train all staff to spot offending behavior and intervene, from custodial staff and cafeteria workers, to secretaries and school bus drivers," he says.

    The American Association of University Women says it is partnering with the National Education Association to set up a task force to address sexual harassment in schools. Nevertheless, Chase adds, "It's a societal problem. It should not be seen as only a school responsibility."

    "Realistically, it's going to take us a whole generation to really change this behavior," Fassler tells WebMD. "We really need to start with kids in the earliest grades. We need to raise a whole generation of kids who just don't even think about engaging in this kind of behavior. Prevention and early intervention is much more effective than attempts to deal with the problems later on, once the behavior patterns have already been established."

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Slideshow
    Young woman holding lip at dentists office
    Video
     
    Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    tissue box
    Quiz
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow