Courageous Teachers Speak Out Against a Serious Problem Being Overlooked in K-12 Schools

In this episode, hosts Amanda and Trina, along with guest Manuwella Allen (Mani), discuss gender equity in education, with a focus on the intersection of race and gender. They address issues of sexual harassment and abuse in schools, highlighting several disturbing cases. The conversation covers the lack of attention given to gender equity in education, the need for a more intersectional approach, and the importance of implementing Title IX. They also discuss the adultification of black girls’ bodies, the problematic nature of dress codes, and the structural sexism in the teaching profession. The episode emphasizes the urgent need for change in the education system.

Resources Mentioned

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Teachers are NOT the Problem, They are Part of the Solution

We are losing qualified teachers at a staggering rate. But, to be clear, teachers should never be blamed for the teacher turnover problems our country is facing. The shortage of teachers in America and the decrease in college students seeking a teaching career is a multifaceted and complex problem. 

The Teacher Shortage Crisis Series

In this limited podcast series, we discuss exactly what got us to this crisis point in the U.S. education system. Click the links below to be directed to that part of the series. We recommend listening in order. 

1. Pay Scales for Teachers are Oppressive and Outdated

2. A Discussion with a New Teacher Who Chose to Leave the Profession

3. The High Cost of Becoming a Teacher

4. How Red Tape is Exacerbating the Problems

5. Outsourcing Teacher Expertise to Canned Curriculum

6. An ESL Teacher’s Stand Against Canned Curriculum and the Shocking Consequences

7. True Educational Equity Reforms Aren’t Happening and the Repercussions are Severe

8. Gender Equity Issues in K-12 are Undervalued and Neglected

9. Courageous Teachers Speak Out Against a Serious Problem Being Overlooked in K-12 Schools

10. Forgotten Narratives from the Frontlines of the Reading Wars

11. The Revealing Reality Struggling Readers Face in the U.S. Public Education System

12. Our Public Education System is in Crisis and the Solutions are Obvious

Stay tuned for the last few episodes wrapping up this limited podcast series!

In this series, Trina, along with myself, and many other educators from diverse backgrounds will explain the many layers of what is really going on. The shortage of special education teachers and math teachers is impacting schools (especially in low-income urban areas) tremendously. But, it’s important for teachers to understand the extent of this crisis. We are losing teachers in all subject areas. 

We want to give teachers an extensive look at this problem from teachers’ perspectives. This is so teachers listening can share this series with other teachers, school leadership, the media, and even the governor of their state. The need to examine the causes of the national teacher shortage has never been more important.

About the Real Teachers Discussing The Teacher Shortage Crisis:

Manuwella Allen

Manuwella Allen is a 24 year teaching veteran who has been a tireless advocate for students with special needs, as well as a champion for racial and gender equity justice in K-12 education.  She has facilitated ethnic girls studies courses, Black Student Unions, and has been a vocal critic of Title IX implementation issues. She has served for years in her top level teacher union leadership, as well as in the black women’s caucus of the California Teachers Association. She is currently leading her district’s efforts to bring a social justice focus into the elementary education level.

Trina English

Trina is a Bay Area public teacher, who has worked in multiple school districts and public schools. She has extensive experience in leading social justice-based reforms in education. She has implemented innovative programs, received recognition for her efforts, and is deeply involved in advocacy work related to gender equity. She earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and her masters in Educational Leadership from Cal State East Bay.  She is a staunch advocate for Title IX implementation and completed a multi-district confidential study on the lack of implementation of Title IX in Bay Area schools.  She is a vocal critic of the exclusionary equity work in K-12 education and has devised and led multiple equity-based pilot projects in her present and prior districts. She has prior experience running a domestic violence shelter and rape crisis hotline, and training domestic violence advocates on trauma response, crisis intervention, and harm reduction safety planning strategies. She has advised numerous feminist student unions over the years, and collaborated with Women’s March Oakland to organize her feminist student union’s involvement in the march—the first ever public school to do so. Read more about her in the blog entry entitled, “Out of the Darkness”.

Amanda Werner

Amanda has been a passionate full-time classroom teacher for the last 15 years. But, she’s also left the profession twice due to burnout and unforeseen family circumstances. She’s worked in a wide range of educational settings teaching students grades 3rd-8th. For the 2023-2024 school year she will be teaching 9th grade! No matter what type of school or grade she’s taught, engaging and empowering students has always been at the forefront of her work as an educator and teacher-author. Amanda understands that helping students find their voice is core to being an effective teacher and social justice advocate. Amanda shares insights about implementing equitable teaching practices on this website and podcast. She has her bachelor’s degree in English literature and Middle-Level Humanities. 


Trina (00:00:00) – Hello, everybody. Amanda and I are here filming a short blurb to put at the beginning of this episode that will be again about gender equity with a special guest, as we had promised. But this episode is done and recorded, and we cannot integrate this news into the story. So we’re putting a blurb because it’s extremely important, and it’s essential to drawing attention to how bad the problem is. Recently, our former 2022 teacher of the year by. By the Alameda County Office of Education was arrested under suspicions of sexual abuse of a minor. The alleged story that’s been reported to us and is not being well publicized at all, is that he is suspended. And I’ve read just a day removed from his job while being criminally investigated for forcing his students because he is a he was a teacher for juvenile detention. Right. So he’s part of the teachers that go into juvenile detention to provide free public education. He forced these two young women into sexually suggestive poses while doing stretches. And these two young girls had been trafficked before they were in juvenile detention, sexual trafficked, sexually trafficked, and he had been one of their johns.

Trina (00:01:25) – That’s the alleged story. This person was venerated and celebrated. And while I don’t know the specifics about his case, I do know that every single school culture has to deal with the problem of teacher or school staff abusing sexually their students sooner or later. It happens to every school. It is pervasive, and it is what is keeping us from being able to see, understand and appreciate the prevalence of the problem amongst students on students. That problem is even more pervasive. Of course. The Alameda County Office of Education has no gender equity framework, has no focus on sexual harassment or sexual violence in our schools, and it is in the most progressive county in our nation. If we don’t have it here, what hope is there for any other school anywhere else? They haven’t even had the decency to take down this man’s 2022 teacher of the year celebratory video. It’s disgusting.

Amanda (00:02:30) – Thank you so much, Trina, for making us aware of this case. And also another case that happened last year that I wasn’t even aware of because it’s not covered very well at all.

Amanda (00:02:43) – And none of these cases are of a music teacher, former music teacher being charged with sexual abuse of an 11 year old, and basically having a relationship with this 11 year old for two years. This is all appalling and something needs to be done. This episode and what we’re doing here is speaking up and speaking out. That’s the first step.

Intro Music: Welcome to the Empower Students Now podcast, a podcast about equity, neurodiversity, mindfulness and student engagement. There’s a lot that needs to change in our education system. The good news is teachers have the power to make these changes now.

Amanda (00:03:00)- This episode is a lot different than most episodes you’ve heard on this podcast, because it’s a compilation of multiple conversations, and one of those conversations is with a racial and gender equity warrior, a high school teacher named Manuela Allen. She also goes by Mani. Mani is a 24 year teaching veteran who’s been a tireless advocate for students with special needs, as well as a champion for racial and gender equity, justice and K through 12 education.

Amanda (00:04:11) – She’s facilitated ethnic girls studies courses, black student unions, and has been a vocal critic of title nine implementation issues. She served for years in her top level teacher union leadership, as well as in the Black Women’s Caucus of the California Teachers Association. She’s currently leading her district’s efforts to bring a social justice focus into the elementary education level, and she is part of our affinity group and part of SSA, school Staff Against Sexual Violence. Being around Serena and Manny has really opened my eyes to the problems that exist in schools, and it’s made me realize how blind I was to a lot of it, and how blind a lot of people are in K through 12 education because of a lack of knowledge, and because schools have not prioritized this issue of gender equity, they just haven’t. Be sure to listen to the very end of this episode for essential information about the laws and guidelines we are all expected to know and follow when there is any suspicion of sexual harassment or sexual abuse. We also define those words.

Amanda (00:05:37) – What do they look like and what do we report and how do we report? This is all essential information, so please listen to the very end. I’m so grateful to Manny and Trina for the work that they’ve done. They’ve really done so much to spread awareness about these issues that are happening in our schools, and they’ve just really stuck their necks out in so many ways, in so many forms and capacities. And they’ve supported each other. But before that, they were alone and not supported and trying to bring up these issues of sexual harassment and abuse that were occurring and that they were seeing and that students were telling them about because their classroom community was a safe place for students to speak their minds. And it’s still this. They’re both still in the classroom. So they’re still doing this work to this day. But doing this kind of work, bringing these topics up in schools that aren’t prioritizing gender equity is rough. It is. So hopefully this episode will help you understand this better and open your eyes to the problems as well.

Amanda (00:06:52) – Because from where I sit, no one’s paying attention to this stuff. We’ve been really focusing in on equity equity issues in K through 12 schools and how we are not taking an intersectional approach. And what that means is thinking of all of the marginalized groups when we’re talking about equity and not always just focusing on race, which is what more progressive states are doing and just ignoring all the other problems. And I’m so excited because this episode is a conversation between Trina English and Manuela Allen. Mani for short is part of, our affinity group. Okay, Trina, tell us about Mani because you and Mani have known each other longer than I’ve known either of you.

Trina (00:07:50) – Mani is a fierce advocate for gender equity in K-12, and specifically around that intersection of race and gender. She and I have been co-conspirators since the very beginning. Um, she is an amazing and powerful ally and just became an incredibly close and dear friend to me. Um, she, like I said, was in the very beginning of school staff against sexual violence.

Trina (00:08:20) – And we’ve grown our practice as co-conspirators working on this problem together. And it was so amazing because she was working alone on the problem, and I was working alone on the problem, and we’d been working alone on the problem for years by the time we met. And it was the most healing cathartic coming together of two powerful women sharing out their experiences. It was it. That friendship, right between she and I was the genesis of everything else, because I understood through growing our love and devotion to each other how powerful that solidarity was, and that we were really creating an affinity space. And from that friendship, I understood that an affinity space of other gender equity and gender equity warriors in K 12 would be my unit of study for my thesis work. And so pulling together these fierce advocates who were in all these different districts, spread out everywhere, working alone on sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual violence on their campuses, I really focused on us growing our connection with each other and then allowing that to be such an incredibly healing space.

Trina (00:09:41) – Um, really focusing on, you know, at the time, I was reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire about that sacred space of the oppressed people coming together and sharing their stories and really defining their own salient themes and having a lot of power over the stories we collected. Mani was a big part of that. It’s hard to know where she begins and I end and begins and she ends, um, and I’m just so grateful that she came on the podcast. Um, and her story is really about, you know, um. Not getting not having a lot of people within the social justice world of K-12 speaking up for girls, um, and then also not feeling understood, um, amongst other gender equity warriors, when she’s talking about issues regarding African American females. And that’s a very lonely place for her to be. It’s news to show up and own that space and it is not easy. So I’m really glad she was willing to talk on this episode.

Amanda (00:10:54) – Okay, now it’s time to hear the conversation with Manuela Allen or Mani and Trina.

Mani (00:11:05) – So as we’re talking about equity in education, when I look at equity in education, it is very male centered and think, because the boys in classes already have that sense of they have very high self esteem, and they know that what they have to say is important. It drowns out what the girls have to say. And my biggest example is we’ve been in school for seven days, eight days. And in one of my ethnic women’s studies class, I have 13 boys, which is the most I’ve ever had since I’ve taught this class. And even though we are talking about girl, we’re talking about girl things like for example, when we talk about periods because, you know, I brought that up. Um, the boys always have something to say, but they don’t even know what I’m talking about. Like the boys are like. Because we were talking, I was telling them how being on a period at school is traumatic. It’s very traumatic because, like when you stand up and you’re like, oh, no.

Mani (00:12:07) – And then if that’s someone, did I leak, you know, and so I’m talking about that. And the guys are like, well, just hold it, hold it. And I’m like, it’s not like urine, right? It doesn’t. We don’t control it. So good.

Trina (00:12:25) – Oh, it’s like okay, mean I.

Mani (00:12:27) – Appreciate you all being vulnerable and being willing to speak up. However, you are not the um oh my gosh, what’s the word? You are not the. Mm.

Trina (00:12:42) – You’re not the authority.

Mani (00:12:43) – Exactly. Yeah. We don’t have a period. And another kid raises his head and he’s like, well you only have to you what? You only have to change your pad like once a week. Right? And I’m like, do you know how nasty that is? You see, makes me want to throw up. No. My God, speak like they know. And so I really feel like we have to back off of that. And we have to. While it is important for us to make sure our boys are getting the grades, we need to make sure that we’re doing for the girls what we do for the boys, because we’re not.

Trina (00:13:16) – Yeah, yeah. I mean, what you just said, I know it was funny, and it’s nice to have the levity. It’s nice to have the levity, but it really like. He lies in ignorance to health and girls issues. That keeps coming up in the K-12 equity framework work, right? Like the videos that we watch about frameworks that have no girls in them. Yep. And, um, you know, from what we see in the media, like, for example, there was a case, I think you may have heard of it, of a young girl who was ten and she was raped and she was in a state where she got pregnant, right? She got pregnant and she was in a state where abortions were now illegal. So I think she was trying to get to Ohio to get an abortion. And I can’t remember the exact particulars. Um, but I think they were trying to, like, criminalize the abortion care she got in Ohio because she’s not from that state.

Trina (00:14:15) – The point is, is that I heard these very learned dudes, like on Let’s Be Real. Like, I was listening to NPR say that they didn’t know that a ten year old could get pregnant. And I’m just like, wait, what? The level of ignorance that men have, boys and men have about this. Because our this this gets to the point about about females, the issues that we have. With oppression in K-12 or in society in the world are shameful. And they are bu and that is the that’s a unique problem that only girls and women have to deal with, right?

Mani (00:14:53) – That’s right. Yes, yes. So that and also. Coming from the perspective of a black woman. All I hear about is the black boys. Look at how bad the black boys are. Look what the black boys are doing. But then it’s like it’s the black girls who are fighting. Those are the girls who are coming to school drunk. Those are the girls who are coming to school. Hi.

Mani (00:15:14) – So we are so into what boys are doing. What about our girls? They’re not making it either. And if you really think about it, because they’re being ignored, they’re doing even worse than the boys. But we’re not willing to accept that because it’s all about the boys. It’s all about the leaders. It’s all about what are we doing for them. And, you know, it’s it’s frustrating for me at least, even looking at admin, looking at the ratio of admin men to women looking at the district office, you know, because I’m always like telling kids, tell girls you can be whoever you want to be. And they’re like, well, I don’t know. I don’t think I can. And it’s like, but you can. I met this girl. She’s in my class six period. Both her parents excuse me, she’s fifth period. Both her parents are engineers. And she told me that she’s going to be an engineer. She wants to be a car engineer. And I was like, what? And she’s Indian.

Mani (00:16:15) – So then I was asking her, culturally, I was like, but culturally, isn’t that not normal? And she’s like, my dad didn’t grow up with money and him and my mom married for love. So her dad is all about you. Do you? You be who you need to be and I will help you get there. And I’m just like, oh my gosh. Okay, so I need you to speak in all my classes.

Trina (00:16:38) – You know? Okay. So that brings up the other problem that I keep saying like, okay, this okay. This is sorry. This just made me think of another issue. There was this highly publicized case of these two hip hop artists. Um, I don’t know if they were romantically connected, but this young woman was shot in the foot.

Mani (00:17:00) – Tori Lane’s and make the stallion, right? Yes.

Trina (00:17:04) – Can you just like for the purposes of this recording, in a couple of sentences, summarize that story.

Mani (00:17:10) – So the story is kind of convoluted, but essentially what basically happened was they were hanging out together.

Mani (00:17:18) – He and he might have been drinking. She might have been drinking. He got a gun. He shot her and then denied it. But he was like, he shot me. And she pressed charges. And then the whole hip hop community turned against her. Yeah, because they were like, how dare you tell on him? This is not a big deal. It’s just your foot. And so she was ostracized for speaking against the violence he did to her.

Trina (00:17:46) – Yeah. And like, the thing I heard about was people from within the hip hop community trying to reckon with this ingrained misogyny. What I came back to, to is like, I feel like it’s too easy for people outside of the black community, outside of hip hop to be like, well, that’s hip hop, right? That’s hip hop, that’s black culture. That’s not us, because we’re so segregated culturally that the misogyny looks different from culture to culture. Yes. Um, and and that is like so not the case because it is very endemic in white culture, too.

Trina (00:18:22) – And it may look different. It may be disguised as this or that or the other, but because we haven’t reckoned with it in that dominant culture, it’s impossible for the far more marginalized cultures to make any headway with it. And it it is like a specific kind of racism that I find extremely distasteful in white people and white men to see that. See, I don’t do that right. So I’m not a misogynist, right? Right. So I’ll just like let you respond to that.

Mani (00:18:54) – Yeah, I agree with that. And, and and think that’s one of my biggest issues with hip hop is the misogyny in it. Right. But what I feel like is. Women have bought into the misogyny. So what men do they do also, you know, and so they keep it alive. So then the men can say, well, she said it. So why are you saying I’m a sergeant when she’s doing it too? So no, it’s, you know, so it’s like they feel like it cancels each other out.

Mani (00:19:22) – And I don’t know how to fix that. But I do know that kids listen to it and they think it’s okay.

Trina (00:19:28) – I mean, but if you look at white culture, the television and the media, for example, all the TV shows that are entire plot premises are based on the killing of women. Like, we don’t even think twice about it because privilege, we have white privilege. The white forms of misogyny and gender based oppression are so much harder for us to see.

Mani (00:19:50) – Yes.

Trina (00:19:51) – Until we confront them, we’re making it extremely hard, especially for trans women. Right? To, you know, trans women are constantly saying we are treated badly because we are because women in general are treated badly too. Yeah. Um, yeah.

Mani (00:20:06) – So and think that also that toxic masculinity falls into that. Yeah. Right. So that misogyny a lot of times the misogyny that we see is because men aren’t allowed to be sensitive or feminine or whatever you want to put on them, you know, they’re supposed to be this certain person.

Mani (00:20:25) – And so that that toxicity, it just bleeds into everything. And then this is where we are. And something I always say in my classes is toxic masculinity, misogyny, all of that is so normal. It’s like breathing. It is the air that we cannot see. It’s just what we live. And so we think it’s okay because it’s like, but this is always how it’s been, right? So yeah, I agree with you 100%. It’s been asked.

Trina (00:20:53) – I know I also feel like people outside of K-12 education may be very surprised to know the extent to which the gender equity issue is absent from the conversation altogether. Yes. And and you would say to yourself, well, 70% of the profession are female and that’s, that’s true. That’s true. But as we talked about in other episodes in the podcast, like because we’re we’re historically a feminine, a female dominated profession, we are particularly disenfranchised from the creation of our standards of practice. We’re not included in the conversation. But then also also, even though 70, 75% of us are female, only a quarter of us are superintendents.

Mani (00:21:37) – That’s it. Yes. And the bulls, right. Even though we are that 70, 75%, we’re not the ones making the rules. We’re the ones following them. I know, and we’re not. We’re not welcomed into the room, you know. Or if we are, it’s that bad. Bad. Good try. Oh you try it. Okay okay okay okay okay okay. Now let the big boys talk and it’s just like so.

Trina (00:22:03) – Yeah. So so it’s I mean, I don’t know, it feels like the male privilege, male bias in K-12 is particularly like pronounced. And it gets. Yeah. And it gets really, um, frustrating and dehumanizing when women are not included in equity frameworks. Women and girls are not included in the equity frameworks. You know, I’ve talked to you about that. Right.

Mani (00:22:31) – And if anybody understands equity, women do because we’ve been treated so equitably. So why would you not understand that? I feel like you mentioned the whole, um, marginalized versus the majority and more majority because they know because they’re in charge, they don’t understand what it feels like to be on the other side of the coin.

Mani (00:22:54) – And so what they’re saying, they think they know, they really don’t know. And I really wish that they would come and talk to us. So when we have like people at the state level who want to make these decisions for k 12, they need to come and talk to us. Amen. Necessarily the male teachers, because even though they are a minority, they still have that majority thought process, right? Because they are the ones in charge. They need to come and talk to us, the women who are doing this job and being ignored. You know the.

Trina (00:23:29) – Yeah. Sorry, I would cut you off. Please keep going.

Mani (00:23:32) – Please go ahead. No, no, just. That’s that’s it. I just it’s just it’s frustrating. This whole process is frustrating because we are here to help people become better people. But it’s hard to do that when you’re dealing with the red tape of it. And then you have to not only teach a subject, but you also have to teach girls how to be secure and who they are.

Mani (00:23:55) – And it’s like, well, if you’re not secure in who you are, you’re probably not going to do well in these different subjects like math and science. You know. So how do you balance that? And how do we get those who are in charge to understand what we’re saying? Because nobody gets it.

Trina (00:24:11) – No. And there’s a very intentional sidestepping around laws that govern gender equity and campuses. And you and I have talked about this a lot like you’ve been we we’ve we’ve been together forever since we founded School Staff Against Sexual Violence. And we found each other because we were fighting against sexual harassment and sexual violence on our campuses and found there was just absolutely nothing in place to support girls equity in general. And and then we, of course, found the law’s title nine and came to understand the extent to which our districts were, you know, not implementing it. And this is not a my site, your site thing. This is a nationwide problem of a lack of implementation of this 50 year old federal law and a misunderstanding of what the law actually is.

Mani (00:25:04) – And that’s. Yeah, I was just going to yes, that’s that’s the biggest thing I feel it is, is people don’t know what it is. They’re only taking a portion of it, but they’re not looking at the whole picture. And so it’s just about sports. But yeah, they that’s how they implement it even though we know there’s more to it.

Trina (00:25:24) – I feel like we could talk just about title nine, like for a whole hour, and maybe we will in another recording, because that is a whole thing.

Mani (00:25:32) – It is my thing. It needs to be out there so people understand because a lot of people don’t understand. And that’s how our girls continually get traumatized and they’re being, um, well, they’re being oppressed because when something happens to them, especially if it’s by a sports, an athlete, then it’s kind of like brush it under the rug. He really didn’t do that, you know, you really wanted it, you know? And so if we don’t have that understanding, then it just don’t know.

Mani (00:25:59) – I’m. Yeah. It’s just so, so frustrating. You know, it’s like oh.

Trina (00:26:06) – I feel like though I want to like. Give you an opportunity to talk about the unique experiences of girls of color more. We have a lot in common with what we’re noticing, but the layered identities make compound the trauma, right? Yeah, like the adult we were. You told me all about the adultification of black girls body. So I just want to let you explain that for a minute.

Mani (00:26:35) – Okay. So, um, and it’s a conversation I’ve been having with students. The adult implication of our students is that even though they’re 14, because of the shape of their body or how much they have matured, their bodies are mature. They are seen as older than they are. So if some kind of trauma or assault or something happens to them, it becomes a, well, you’re used to it. Well, why are you complaining? Well, look at how you’re dressing. And a lot of times all girls, especially black and brown girls, they get, um, what is that called? I always forget the name of it.

Mani (00:27:13) – Uh, when they their clothing dress coded, they get dress coded because they could be wearing the same shirt as someone who’s not as as developed as them. And the shirt is inappropriate on them, but it’s appropriate on someone who’s not developed. So a lot of the girls are like, but my mom saw me walk out the house like this, so why am I getting in trouble for it? But in addition to that, why are we, as adults sexualizing them? Because that’s what it is for me to look at you and be like, oh my God, you’re showing too much cleavage. That means I’m seeing you as a woman with, you know, and that’s a problem. So a lot of the black and brown girls are kind of like, well, I don’t even know what to wear because I have a small waist, but I have hips or I have a butt, so I can’t wear pants that are going to look this way because I have to buy pants. If I buy my size, then they’re going to be tight on my thighs and my butt.

Mani (00:28:10) – So, you know, there’s just it’s a it’s really difficult. It’s a difficult thing for them to deal with. And then their self esteem gets really low because then they become an object rather than being a person. And so then they become very uncomfortable with being in their skin. And then when they’re told that they what they’re wearing is inappropriate or I see too much boob, or you shouldn’t be showing your stomach or whatever, whatever, then they get to this point. They’re like, well, where am I supposed to shop then? In the boys section, because nothing fits me the way it fits those little girls over there. So it just becomes this whole cycle and it’s like, okay, so we have to figure out a way to work with these girls. We have to help them, because if once again, the family is allowing them to dress that way, we are nobody to tell them they can’t.

Trina (00:28:57) – Right. And, you know, you and I have been talking for years now about the best way to like, get a campus or a school culture ready to absorb greater gender equity laws.

Trina (00:29:12) – And one of them was to start with a non sexist dress code. Right, right. And so there is some good model dress code that the National Organization for women has put out. You know, I’ve successfully lobbied with the help of my feminist student union to implement that at my site. I’m so excited. How has has that gotten any traction at your site? If you don’t mind? You don’t have to talk about it if you know. Okay.

Mani (00:29:36) – No, no, no. Um, what happens is so I’m really trying to advocate for it because we do need to change some stuff. Right? But the thing is that, um. What I’m told is it’s inappropriate. This is not a club that is inappropriate.

Trina (00:29:52) – I’m sorry. That term inappropriate is such a cluster F. Yes. It’s so problematic. It’s so culturally biased. It’s so gender biased. It’s it’s it’s a problem.

Mani (00:30:03) – But what I like to bring up is when our athletes are walking around with no shirts on, the male athletes are walking around with no shirt on.

Mani (00:30:12) – I’m like, why is that? Why is that okay? So can’t see the bra strap, can’t see the belly button of a girl, but I can see the whole chest and whole back of a 15, 16, 17 year old boy. That’s a problem.

Trina (00:30:27) – It is. And this also like the lack of consistency across sites and districts about the application of equitable frameworks, standards of practice laws. Yes, because this is a problem. We are we are siloed. We don’t get to we don’t get to get together and talk and say, hey, this is working here. This is if this is what we do here, then it’s only equitable that it gets done there. And we are siloed from each other. And I do want you to know, hey, we have a site where I am that has a non sexist dress code and we’re making it work. Is it easy? No it’s not, but that’s the work. And that winds up giving us the space we need to have period equity right.

Trina (00:31:14) – Because we have AB 367. Yes. The law that says six through 12th grade girls need access to free period care products in all of their bathrooms. And it even says in your gender neutral bathrooms and in a male bathroom, two one male bathroom. But the point is. People who are menstruating. The girls who menstruate need to have this access to period care products, and there’s all kinds of drag in their feet. Yes. To get those devices installed on the bathrooms, you got to come up with a funding stream to keep them stocked. You have to come up with a maintenance schedule to make sure they’re stocked and that they’re operational. And I have had it up to here with the excuses. This this law is not new anymore. And I want to know I want to know how many schools have implemented this law. There’s no data. I can’t find it.

Mani (00:32:09) – My school, it’s not been implemented. But the other problem is they like for the PE, the coaches will sell them pads which have a problem with them.

Mani (00:32:23) – And when you go to the health center to get a pad, it is the really bulky. And they are they don’t absorb. And so like the dollar store pads that are real cheap. And so that’s frustrating too because it’s like, what’s the point of putting on this bulky pad that’s not going to help you?

Trina (00:32:43) – And there’s no expectation that it should be a good product. It’s like, oh, I get a product at all. And there’s a lot of girls who miss school because they’ve bled through their clothes, or they get sick because they don’t have enough products to change out. And I just feel like, I mean, I told this to another person at my site last year, like, do you know how much time and effort as females we spend on making sure that you don’t? You’re never made aware of the fact that we are dealing with a period all the time. Yes, like we work really hard so that you never have to know we’re menstruating, right? It’s time consuming and exhausting.

Trina (00:33:18) – And I’m 48 years old, and I’ve spent my entire life not talking about periods. And now that I’m at the end of my stuff and I’m perimenopausal and bleeding all the damn time. I used to be quiet about it.

Mani (00:33:31) – Me too. I’m with you. Well, something I just found out is the girls who do swimming. The swimming unit, they only get three days, so if they’re on their period, you have three days to be on your period. And then you have to wear a tampon in the pool.

Trina (00:33:47) – Okay. I’m sorry there’s so much wrong with that.

Mani (00:33:50) – I agree, and when I found out, it was like, oh no, oh no, we’re going to do something about this because no. No. Why would you even know?

Trina (00:33:58) – I don’t even know where to begin unpacking that. There’s so many layers of crap associated with that practice.

Mani (00:34:06) – Oh, and I told our person. I told someone from the district level, I had the kids tell that person and the response was, well, you need to learn how to swim.

Mani (00:34:19) – Nobody’s disagreeing with that. But if I’m on my period, I should not have to get into that pool. And some of these kids don’t wear tampons.

Trina (00:34:28) – Can we can we just clear this up for the for the guys listening? Listen, some of us wear tampons, and some of us don’t. Wearing a tampon doesn’t divergences you. However, our anatomies are different. And for some of us, putting one of those in is difficult. And it’s scary and traumatic and tricky for younger girls. A lot of teenage girls just don’t wear them. Capiche? And whether or not you wear a pad or a tampon is your choice. And you get both options.

Mani (00:35:01) – Exactly, exactly, yes. So yeah, that’s what I learned. So we have to.

Trina (00:35:09) – Say these things, Manny, because people don’t know.

Mani (00:35:11) – They don’t know. You’re right. And I’m glad you do, because a lot of girls ask me if they wear a tampon. Are they no longer a virgin? And it’s like, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Mani (00:35:22) – But, you know, it’s just it’s sad. It’s sad. And for them to be put into this position, if they don’t dress, then that’s their grade.

Trina (00:35:30) – Yeah, yeah. I mean, a lot of girls have struggled academically because of their period. Access period. Equity. Yeah. And so that. So just to recap, like working on your non-sexist dress code, making sure you have a period equity campaign on your campus, all of that like flows out of a feminist club or a feminist student union that can advertise Women’s History Month. Right. Like these things are super important. But all of this gets to the crux of one of the biggest issues that girls face that is so willfully ignored by K12 leadership, which is the access to anti-sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention response and advocacy. So I don’t even that is a whole thing that of course, I did my thesis on. But like you and I have talked about this a lot. If you had to describe this problem in K 12 to someone from the outside in, you know, under five minutes, how would you put it to words?

Mani (00:36:33) – Under five minutes.

Mani (00:36:37) – I would say that. It’s toxic. It’s a toxic thing because a lot of times the response is boys will be boys, you know? And a lot of times the clothing that girls wear gets blamed. So those things have been around forever and people aren’t willing to move away from that. And so that’s what I see. And they see it from young ages, from little girls, from them saying little girls can’t wear the spaghetti strap tank tops to them telling girls in high school that they can’t wear the holes in their needs or they their pants have to hit under their belly button, you know, it has to be pulled upwards. The guys have it hanging off their butt cheeks. So I would say it’s toxic. It’s a toxic thing. And we just we feed into it. A lot of adults feed into it because that’s how they were raised and that’s how they believe. And so they’re not willing to move beyond that.

Trina (00:37:37) – I mean, I completely agree. Title nine says you’re supposed to like the the the court decisions and best practices from, um, the Office of Civil Rights, the US Department of Education has given some guidance that the districts have not taken into account.

Trina (00:37:58) – But it says that you’re. Yeah, not at all. It says that the kids are supposed to get regular training on recognizing sexual harassment. And what and forms of sexual harassment and violence. It also makes it clear to the teachers and school staff they are mandated to report student on student harassment and violence to an outside agency. And so reporting to an admin is not going to cut it. Admin, you are not qualified to respond and investigate to these types of reports. You are not. Hello, not qualified to investigate these things. It’s not a student disciplinary matter. That is typical. Um, yeah. There’s just so much wrong with. What’s going on in the schools when these reports get made? And then. Right. So like, the kids are supposed to know who their title coordinator is, somebody who’s accessible to them. They’re supposed to be these, like. What do they call them? The special conditions under which protective measures, the protective measures they’re supposed to use to protect the traumatization of victims, the ways in which they’re supposed to keep the victims in informed of the investigative process, how it’s supposed to minimise disruption to their learning.

Trina (00:39:20) – None of this is happening. No. But yet districts are getting away with saying that they have implemented the law because it looks like it is on a website, which is the way you do everything in K-12. So I’m just going to let you respond.

Mani (00:39:34) – Just, you know, what you saying? That just brings up just on Thursday, I had a student who had been raped at school, on campus. Has not been told anything about what’s going on on the legal side is going to college now. Saw her rapist on campus and had a panic attack. Had to have her counselor come to her car to walk her to the office so they could calm her down. And I’m like, so this happened in high school? Understandable. It was her junior year in high school, but nothing. She’s in this space of like, she doesn’t know what to do. And so now she’s talking about quitting school. She thought all of this stuff is affected because. G this. I don’t know if I can say it wasn’t dealt with the right way, but I know that there was no closure and because there was no closure, she’s now living in limbo.

Trina (00:40:38) – Well, I mean, there’s no global messaging to the kids at all. What I mean by that is we’re not hearing mass messaging that we do not tolerate sexual harassment or violence. Here’s what sexual harassment and violence is. It is unacceptable not caring that messaging.

Mani (00:40:54) – That is it. Yes, I agree with you. And I was going to say that too. Even teachers can’t define it if they have not been exposed to kids talking about it or in their own lives. They haven’t been exposed. They don’t know what it is, and so they don’t know what to look for and they don’t know how to respond. Even though we do the safe schools. Safe schools is bullshit. Excuse my French, but it is. It’s not helpful at all.

Trina (00:41:18) – And so for people who are not teachers, yes, we Keenan Safe Schools is one of the online training certification programs available to school districts. It’s typical in the Bay area because we’re siloed. I have no idea if other districts also use it, but I know local schools in the Bay area use it.

Trina (00:41:38) – And you, you know, take a keen in safe schools online training to re-certify you in Covid safety and blood borne pathogens and child abuse reporting. Now there is a which we are mandated and everyone knows we’re mandated to report abuse suspected in the home. Oh will report a parent in a heartbeat. Yes. Reporting each other. If we’re messing up and we’re abusing kids or reporting other kids harassing or abusing each other, oh, no, that gets handled somehow differently, right? Yes. So Keenan Save Schools also has a student on student harassment and sexual violence training module. Not many districts use it. Right. Right. So and it’s different than mandated child abuse reporting.

Mani (00:42:35) – Well, thank you for that.

Trina (00:42:38) – Because it is available. I’ve seen it. Of course, if you just suddenly make it, uh, mandated for your staff and you don’t have any systems in place, it’s going to be like, wait, what? I’m mandated to do what? And your title line.

Trina (00:42:50) – Who is this title line coordinator?

Mani (00:42:52) – That is true.

Trina (00:42:53) – You know, I don’t know this person. The kids don’t know this. Like it’s entitled. Line coordinator is supposed to be directly responsible for seeing out the investigations that all come into them. And right now they don’t they don’t. They say they train their site admin to do it. And the site and admin have not been given a comprehensive training on title nine requirements and mandates. It’s all like just a dog and pony show. Yeah, and that’s because we lack a gender equity focus of any kind in K-12 educational frameworks. And that goes all the way up to the top, right. Like that goes all the way up to the social justice focused programs in Department of Leadership programs like there’s no gender equity focus even happening in there. Um, or even like a glimmer of a conversation. So we saw what.

Mani (00:43:44) – Happened when you tried to bring it forward.

Mani (00:43:47) – It was like. It was shot down.

Trina (00:43:52) – Yep. Yep. And of course, like the traditional university model of how we get some traction on title nine, like how we make progress on how we make progress on advancing a safer campus for girls and women is realized on survivor advocacy.

Trina (00:44:12) – So you got to have survivors that are willing to speak out, to raise awareness like that is just for kids like high school, high school, middle school, elementary school campuses. You say these little kids have to be the one to speak up. Do you know how freaking hard that is to do? Yes, do for myself. Like, it’s really hard to speak out at all, much less as a child. Like that is not a model that is. Humanizing for children at all. Yeah. And yeah. And universities and colleges have a lot better compliance with the law than K-12. And what these girls are facing. And it’s not just girls. All the kids. Right. Particularly. Yeah. Um, what they’re facing we would not tolerate in our workplaces. That’s right. Yeah. No.

Mani (00:45:06) – Yes.

Mani (00:45:07) – That is right. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just at the end of the day, it is frustrating. But we can’t give up because kids, their souls are dying, right? We don’t have a choice, but we just need to make sure that we.

Mani (00:45:22) – We have to get more allies, you know, more co-conspirators. And we need male bodies to speak up. That’s right. Because if we’re not going to be most times we’re not listened to because we are emotional and we’re this and we’re that. So we need to make sure that we have these partners. Who have privilege, you know, using their privilege to help us this word out. Right? Because it’s not only frustrating, it’s sad. It’s sad to walk around holding on to what these girls are going through.

Trina (00:45:54) – It is. And you talked about privilege. And that’s really important. Like we need the men in these spaces to be champions to this cause, but also because we live such segregated, racially segregated lives. Like, one thing we can say is that sexual harassment and sexual assault is a constant across all time and space. That’s constant. But the ways in which men and boys harass us looks very different from culture to culture. So that gets all the way back to this. This like, I think over-exaggeration of hip hop culture.

Mani (00:46:28) – It’s no different than any other culture. That’s right.

Mani (00:46:30) – It’s not.

Trina (00:46:31) – It’s not.

Trina (00:46:32) – But it looks different than white forms of gender based oppression. And so we can point to that and say that’s what they do. Aren’t we so much more evolved and better? Right. You know, the white men in the room are like left completely off the oh, no, completely blameless for any of it.

Mani (00:46:54) – Right. Because it’s.

Mani (00:46:58) – That’s right. Yes. And that is another way, you know. But but I like how you put it. We’re in silos, you know, because when you said that we don’t talk to each other like districts don’t talk to each other.

Mani (00:47:10) – That is so true. So how do we make that happen then? Because it’s needed.

Trina (00:47:16) – It’s so needed. It was so needed. Yeah. Because. Well, yeah. So because of the structural sexism in our profession, women being the the predominant, yes, teacher teaching body, we’ve never been trusted or respected to form like national federations or board certification processes.

Trina (00:47:36) – It’s always been outsourced to outside contractors and consultants. And then we have relegated all the big decisions to school boards which are beholden to local. Right, um, elections. But it is essential that we start talking to each other about this. And, you know, we we Amanda and I did get one little piece of feedback on our first episode about teacher pay, about the oppressive ways in which teachers are paid. And because we were talking about step and column.

Mani (00:48:10) – Right.

Trina (00:48:11) – How they hide our money and stuff and call them. And someone wrote back and said, you know, in Texas we don’t even have columns. We only have steps. Yeah. So I mean, they don’t get they don’t get raises, they don’t get regular incremental raises for for education only for years. Right. But the whole idea that you’re not making your whole salary right away, that’s still there. But she was this teacher was so kind of like, this doesn’t feel enough. Like my experience for me to feel comforted and validated and have solidarity with you.

Trina (00:48:44) – Please talk to other states, other teachers in and we’re like, heck yeah. And so we’re going to try to bring on as many teachers nationally to come on to the podcast and actually talk. So that’s what we want, you guys. We want everyone to email us and share their stories because we are siloed and they are getting away with. Oppressing us and our kids. And in this like, you know, bottom third ranking in the world of education, and not because we’re not trying and not because we’re not spending enough money. It’s because we are not empowered to do what we know. First of all, we’re not empowered to learn and grow our practice like the way we should. And secondly, we’re not empowered to implement any of the changes we know we need to be doing right.

Mani (00:49:31) – Right. Oh, that’s a good idea, though.

Amanda (00:49:35) – This last conversation is a conversation that Trina and I had after Mani’s interview, where Trina had some epiphanies and so did I, and we realized that we really needed to clarify for everyone listening what exactly all of these terms mean, like sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual battery, and also the ways in which students and leaders are completely uninformed about what these terms mean and what to do when these things happen within a school.

Trina (00:50:20) – There are very specific practices going on in K-12, which are really preventing us from seeing the huge issue, because being held back like a floodgate, so that one of the bigger issues is that the kids don’t know what sexual harassment is, they don’t know who their title coordinator is if they have one, and there’s no system in place to report to them so that this person who’s sequestered off at district office that nobody even knows about isn’t getting a ton of reports because nobody knows, right? Staff don’t know their mandated report, sexual harassment student on student sexual harassment either. But then there’s this other bigger problem. You arguably could call it a bigger problem of sexual abuse on campus. And when we do our mandated reporter training for school staff, we are taught that if we suspect abuse in the home, we report right where it’s not our job to investigate, we report, we pass it off. But when stuff happens at school, there’s this all this confusion about how is it handled? Well, it’s handled exactly the same.

Trina (00:51:29) – And this is the thing that people do not understand. Child sexual abuse should not be investigated by any school staff, whether they are leadership or district office. They are not qualified and they’re not legally designated to investigate child sexual abuse. And by that.

Amanda (00:51:46) – Can I just say something like what is child sexual abuse? I was just giving examples of what that is, because I think a lot of school staff and leaders don’t really know the difference between.

Trina (00:52:00) – Yeah, we don’t we don’t. Okay. So in the adult world we separate sexual assault and sexual harassment okay. This is what it’s crystallizing in my head right now. And sexual assault is when there’s physical touch and and it can be battery where you’re being grabbed and assault, which is when you’re being penetrated. But what was crystallizing in my realization right now is those those designations aren’t even salient for children because they are under the age of 18, and they are covered by more broad, sweeping, more aggressive laws, which are child sexual abuse laws. Right.

Trina (00:52:39) – And so if a child is touched or fondled, whether for the purposes of sexual gratification or abuse, we don’t even have to tease out whether it’s harassment or assault, it’s child sexual abuse. So students are being sexually assaulted, they’re being penetrated or forced to perform sex acts on other students. And that is assault and that is rape. And that is obviously it falls under a number of criminal codes, specifically ones that address children. But then also when children are fondled, molested by other children, that is also a child abuse mandated reporter situation. We have site based admin investigating these things. And I got to say, not even all the parents are being notified. We have a number of people, teachers, people in charge of discipline, um, site based admin and counselors. A number of people are are all being made aware of it specific cases and not calling the authorities on making and safe schools training. It says several things that are extremely specific one. If you’re under the age of 18 and you experienced sexual abuse, whether it’s at school or in the home, it does not matter if the perpetrator is an adult or a minor.

Trina (00:54:00) – You call CPS or local law enforcement or county designee for investigations. That would be someone like in the district attorney’s office, not school staff. So, for.

Amanda (00:54:10) – Example, if one student touches another student in a private place, that they shouldn’t be touching that student, even if they think that the kid thinks that it’s joking or it’s playing, or and maybe the school leaders and the teachers think that this is just kids being kids or boys being boys. That should be reported and investigated by an outside agency. Yes.

Trina (00:54:37) – Yes, yes.

Trina (00:54:39) – And because we’re not qualified to do those investigations, I went through an administrative credential preparatory program, and I’ve finished my leadership masters, and I was not trained on that. If you think you are, because it gets what winds up being handled. What winds up happening to is it gets handled. Like any student disciplinary issue, victims are pulled into interviews with their perpetrators in the room. You would never do that to an adult victim who’d been raped or assaulted at work.

Trina (00:55:09) – Like it’s egregious what is happening. The issue of reporting to a title nine coordinator is separate from the issue of reporting for child sexual abuse, because sexual assault and battery is reportable to title nine. But if it has crossed that that boundary of going from harassment to touching or penetration, it also if it’s a person under the age of 18 also needs to be reported to your local or local law enforcement. We have a bunch of administrators running around covering this shit up. It is illegal and we could all lose our credentials for this, and it’s because it’s being covered up and handled this way. No one is being made aware of the fact that it is constant and it is everywhere, and it is getting worse. There.

Amanda (00:56:04) – Well, and I just want to make the point that when teachers and administrators minimize these things or believe that they’re not serious enough to report to an outside agency, they are the the damages and the consequences of that are like just rippling, like a rippling effect. Because whoever the perpetrator is, if it’s a child that’s, you know, fondling another child because, you know, they they say that they were just joking around or whatever the reason for it, there’s the possibility that more is going on, because when a kid does something like that, sometimes it means, you know, they are being touched by someone else, right? And so, yeah, I’m just I’m just making the point of the severity of like, even something that you think isn’t is innocent or isn’t serious enough.

Amanda (00:57:04) – It possibly could be. And like you said, we are not the ones that we’re not should be. We’re not qualified to to make that to to make that call.

Trina (00:57:15) – No, no. And what’s happening is it’s going on constantly. It’s going on constantly. And then kids are getting the message at school that it’s completely acceptable. And then, sorry, kids are getting the message at school that it’s completely acceptable. And then they’re learning about acceptable boundaries and behaviors and gender gender roles, and they’re learning it at school. And then they go out to college or high school, and they have this world of hurt put upon them when they realize that it’s no longer tolerated out there. Um, and that is, you know, unacceptable. It should be more stringent in K through 12 because these are children. And that way we have a less Herculean problem with the adult world. This is pervasive. And I am so furious with this problem and furious with school leaders because it has they have, um, the child abuse laws have only been strengthened recently.

Trina (00:58:18) – Victims are now allowed to file lawsuits against school districts until they are 40 years old, or from five years of self discovery that they have been victimized at school. Schools are being sued. And you and I both know that that does not matter to them. They will still cover this up, and they will still ignore the problem because they don’t care. They don’t. Children are not self-possessed enough. They don’t have enough agency over their lives to fight for their own rights. They need us to do it for them. And you guys, the trauma that kids are playing out at school from all of this, like they have so much sexual abuse that they are aware of, that they’re complicit in, that they’ve been victimized, and it is resulting in a big, big upswing and just chaotic behaviors, disengaged behaviors. You wondering why your classrooms feel so crazy? This is a big reason why, and it’s driving people out of the profession.

Amanda (00:59:22) – Okay. Yes. Let’s define these terms from the least extreme to the most extreme.

Amanda (00:59:29) – Okay.

Trina (00:59:29) – Yeah. Because there is the title nine coordinator investigates sexual harassment. And by law, they’re also supposed to be made aware of sexual battery and sexual assault in the collegiate world. It’s one thing and they have far better implementation, but they don’t have the child abuse laws that hover over them because they don’t work with kids. We do. Right? So that is why I was just saying a moment ago that, like, there’s a real difference between what a title nine coordinator is allowed to investigate in K-12 versus what they are allowed to investigate in universities because the laws that govern child abuse, child sexual abuse state that only law enforcement or county designee can investigate. That’s why it’s got to be reported to them. And so title nine coordinator is supposed to be able to know what they are allowed to investigate alone and when they need to call in an outside agency. And what they are doing instead is being a gatekeeper and keeping those reports from being made because they’re trying to cover up. Um.

Amanda (01:00:33) – Okay, let’s define those terms though.

Amanda (01:00:35) – Yeah.

Trina (01:00:35) – The term. Okay. So sexual harassment is a couple of things. That pattern of unwanted comments, lures, gestures that are targeted at you by your gender or sexual identity. And it’s, it’s it’s a power and control issue that’s usually from someone who has more power over people of less power, which is why it’s very commonly boys targeting girls. That is a very common dynamic, or.

Trina (01:01:03) – Boys that are of a higher social status targeting.

Trina (01:01:07) – Boys of a lower.

Amand (01:01:08) – Lower social status. Okay.

Trina (01:01:11) – So it has to be a pattern of incidents involving the same perpetrator. However, title nine does designate a really important, salient distinction of what’s called a hostile environment. And this is where I think all of our schools currently are. There are so much tagging on the walls comments over, even if it’s not directed at you. If you’re having to overhear students talk about graphic sexual conversations, if you’re constantly on a regular basis being exposed to sexually sexualized conversations or sexual comments, that is a hostile environment.

Trina (01:01:48) – And the reason why school leaders aren’t called to account for it is because it is covered up. It is not being reported. The staff don’t understand their reporting requirements, the kids don’t know how to report. And then also the more egregious child sexual abuse allegations are not being reported to outside agencies. So the harassment is when it doesn’t cross the line of touching or penetration. And it should meet this like minimum standard of a pattern. But these hostile environments are such that kids are seeing the tagging all over their school, hearing the conversations constantly and then also having it directed to them as well. So if you really look at what the loss is about hostile environment, you could say that. I mean, I haven’t been at a school that did not have a hostile environment for sexual harassment. And, you know, I’ve interviewed a ton of people and I’ve listened to a ton of stories. I can’t find a single school that does not meet this minimum threshold for hostile environment yet. I’ve talked to a lot of administrators that say, not in my school.

Amanda (01:02:56) – So what’s the law around when there is a hostile environment occurring at a school? Like, what’s the law at school?

Trina (01:03:06) – They are supposed to be taking reasonable steps to address it? Okay. And if schools were doing their minimum requirement, what the OCR has has recommended.

Amanda (01:03:15) – What’s the OCR?

Trina (01:03:16) – Yeah. Office of Civil Rights okay. Okay. So the US Department of Education, the Office of Civil Rights has issued guidance around how to best implement these laws. And you know, one, widely promulgate your practices like how do you report, who do you report to. How do we keep you safe during an investigative process like we’ve talked about these before, these are called supportive measures.

Amanda (01:03:40) – What do you report right.

Trina (01:03:43) – Exactly.

Trina (01:03:43) – What do you report right. Staff don’t know. Staff don’t know that they staff need to be trained explicitly on the difference between harassment and abuse. And that school based sexual abuse suspicions, including student on student because the losses anyone including people under the age of 18 you have to contact and outside agencies.

Trina (01:04:05) – So there’s a lot, a lot, a lot of sexual abuse happening at school. And we don’t know that we’re required to report it. We go to our we go to our site based administrators. Okay.

Amanda (01:04:13) – But what is sexual abuse?

Trina (01:04:16) – Touching of the genitals for the purpose of sexual gratification or abuse.

Amanda (01:04:21) – And harassment is like words.

Trina  (01:04:24) – Yeah, it’s words you.

Trina (01:04:25) – Say that are sexualized, constantly asking for sexual attention or, you know, going out on a date here in graphic details of seeing things. So either it’s one person, one person with a pattern of harassment over a pattern of incidents that constitute the minimum threshold of what harassment is. It’s kind of a little bit like the problem with stalking. You have to document it. Um, but that’s for adults. I’m talking about for children. You suspect you report, right? And that goes to a title nine coordinator. And then when you have a child that sexual abuse happening at school, you should also report that title nine coordinator.

Trina (01:05:04) – But that’s separate. And in fact, we are told you should not even be giving your title nine coordinator your mandated child abuse reporting form. Don’t show it to them. The authorities don’t want that going beyond you and them. They will conduct their own investigation. You should fill out whatever other form title nine wants you to fill out separately. And so these are and we could lose our credentials. But what we have instead is that in universities there’s this really great system for reporting online. Everybody understand you have to report. And. In K-12, where we have even more stringent laws. We have beyond the criminal codes for battery and assault. We have child abuse, child sexual abuse code. It’s not getting reported. It’s not getting reported.

Amanda (01:05:55) – No it’s not. That’s the end of this mind blowing episode. As always, please share this with someone you think needs to hear it. A teacher, a vice principal, a principal governor. We really, really want to start speaking up and spreading the word about the issues that are being ignored in our schools, because the only way we’re going to be able to change them is by talking about the problems first facing them.

Amanda (01:06:26) – So yeah, share this. And we’ll be back with our next episode about reading instruction, and how that is also a huge cause of teachers leaving the profession and how it also plays into toxic school cultures. So that’s coming up in the next episode.



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