Gender Equity Issues in K-12 Schools are Neglected and It’s Harming Our Students and Staff

In this podcast episode, Trina shares her expertise around gender equity in K-12 schools. She discusses the lack of support and unjust treatment of female students in schools, emphasizing the need for comprehensive discussions on gender equity. Amanda and Trina discuss topics such as period equity, the inclusion of girls in STEM programs, biases in the education system, anti sexist dress codes, and the lack of  implementation of Title IX in our public education system. Trina shares her frustration with the lack of support for girls who experience sexual harassment and violence in schools. The episode ends with a teaser for the next episode, which will focus on the intersectionality of race and gender in educational equity.

Resources Mentioned

Nonsexist Dress Code

How to Start a Girl Up Student Union/Club


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 Pay Scales for Teachers are Oppressive and Outdated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.

Amanda (00:00:00) – Today’s episode is a continuation of our last episode. If you haven’t listened to that, you should. It’s called True Educational Equity. Reforms are not happening in K through 12 schools and the repercussions are severe. In that episode, Trina goes in depth in explaining the ways in which our schools are oppressive places for students with marginalized identities. And these identities can be layered on top of each other. So students who are African American or our ELD students, students who speak second languages, students who are Muslim or Filipino, or just black and brown students, also gender nonconforming students. Lgbtqia+ students. Neurodivergent students. Students who haven’t been diagnosed with any sort of mental health difference, but they still are neurodivergent low income students, students with health issues. And the list goes on and on. That episode describes how the equity work that is being done in schools today is failing because it’s exclusionary, since in the majority of schools doing equity work are only narrowly focusing on racial equity and forgetting all the other groups, and that we really, really need to take an inclusive, intersectional approach.

Amanda (00:01:39) – And this can be done in schools. And this episode is specifically focused on the unjust treatment and the ways in which we are not supporting our female students. Specifically, Trina has implemented innovative programs and received recognition for her advocacy work related to gender equity. She’s a staunch advocate for Title nine implementation. Most school leaders don’t even fully know what the Title nine law is, or they just think it’s about sports. It’s not just about sports. It’s a 50 year old federal law created to protect against discrimination in schools based on gender and sexual orientation. The law outlines all the systems that need to be put in place to protect against sexual harassment and gender based oppression. However, most schools don’t have any of these systems in place, such as a protocol that is clear to both teachers and students about how to report gender based discrimination and how investigations happen and the repercussions. None of these systems are really in place in most schools. Trina is an extremely informed teacher leader. I feel absolutely confident in turning to her for support and figuring out this mess we have going on in the American public education system when it comes to gender equity in K through 12 schools and the ways in which this is all perpetuating the teacher shortage crisis.

Amanda (00:03:20) – So listen in and as always, if you want to be a guest on the podcast to tell your story, please go to Amanda right now. Click Contact and tell us about yourself and we can plan and figure out a time that you can jump on a Zoom call with Trina and I and really be a part of the movement to change these things. We want more teachers on board. So maybe that’s you come on, on to the podcast. We would love to have you. 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. Today we are delving even deeper into the topic of educational equity and how true reforms aren’t happening in our schools. Trina English is here with me again, my co-host, and I want to give a little background about why Trina is such an important person to look to when it comes to specifically gender equity issues.

Amanda (00:04:42) – So Trina recently finished a master’s program and received her master’s degree in educational leadership with an equity focus from Cal State East Bay. And she did her thesis on a confidential multi district study. So she did a study about gender equity implementation and Title nine implementation in K through 12 schools specifically and through that thesis work, she started an organization called School Staff Against Sexual Violence SS and you can go and visit that website to learn more and even join us if you want. I’m part of this organization as well. This organization that Trina has started brings together school staff around the country to work in a confidential setting to dig into the problems of sexual harassment and sexual violence in K through 12 schools. There are very few people doing this work, and it’s a lonely thing. And so Trina is trying to build a support network for teachers who really care deeply about these these issues and are seeing this this problem of sexual harassment in their schools and no one’s doing anything about it. And Title nine is not being even implemented or even understood fully by teachers or leaders of schools.

Amanda (00:06:19) – And so, Trina, let’s start this conversation about gender equity specifically in our schools. So where do you want to start? It’s a big one.

Trina (00:06:31) – And it is a big one. I want to say that like first and foremost, gender equity is a big term. And so I don’t want to conflate the issue when I talk about it and miss important other groups. This conversation that we are having is specifically about cisgender females in K-12 education. I say that with an understanding if you know much about gender equity, the issues that face trans women are identical to the issues facing cisgender women. And then then some, right? They have extra burdens, not just because they carry an extra marginalized identity. It’s because being a trans woman is just a lot more difficult than being a cisgender woman in a lot of ways. But gender equity also covers gender non-conforming, like non binary trans males. Like it’s a big topic. And so one of my big bones to pick with equity conversations in K-12 or anywhere but specifically in K-12, is that we say equity and then we’re really only talking about one thing and it’s so alienating to not hear your group discussed.

Trina (00:07:43) – And so I’m going to say gender equity. But folks, it is a big issue. And talking about Lgbtqia intersectionality of gender equity deserves a whole other conversation. But I will say this there are platitudes and superficial conversations afoot in some blue state, blue county blue districts, progressive districts in the country. That does include a conversation about Lgbtqia gender equity work. What isn’t afoot is cisgender female conversations, and it needs to happen and it has its own dynamic. And one of the things that I noticed is that by not addressing the just the highly abundant because we’re 50% of the population sexism, oppression and trauma that all cisgender females in society face, we make it much harder for women of additional marginalized identities to get justice, too, because the people with the power, you know, the men of the dominant group who have the least amount of marginalized identities, have not addressed the harm that they are complicit with and responsible for. And so they are far less likely to grant any kind of anti oppression work because they’re always in the position to say yay or nay.

Trina (00:09:10) – These dudes there are. Far less likely to grant that kind of conversation or space for women of additional layered identities. So it’s just super important one to state that this conversation does need to be talking about cisgender females, and two, that it needs to be said that the issues under gender equity are far more complex than just cisgender females. So I am a gender female. I do this work advocating for Title nine. I did include specifically Lgbtqia considerations in my thesis work. I will touch upon them, but touching upon them is not the same thing as doing them justice. So I just wanted to make that very clear. And equity frameworks in education are specifically missing these conversations, like entirely like I have sat in a number of high level district meetings, not just for districts I work for, but I’ve been privileged with the opportunity to participate in them where it was like explicitly said, Nope, we’re not talking about this. It’s not part of our work and it’s just agonizing. So we’ve already talked about how the systemic sexism in our profession is one of the foundational frameworks that you need to understand to address what’s wrong with K-12 and why our profession is so undesirable to people.

Trina (00:10:38) – Like you’ve got to be really down with gender equity and sexism in order to solve this mess. It’s a foundational theory. It’s so weird that we don’t talk about it at all, and so many of us are women and it’s so weird. But I’m going to pivot and talk more specifically about the experiences our kids face. There’s a number of issues we’re going to talk about a few of them before we get into Title nine. And the first is Period equity. And I know when I was a kid, like there’s so much shame and so much taboo about periods and so many of us like, if you’re my age, I’m 49. You’ve just you’ve just gone through life doing everything you can to make it as hidden as possible that you’re ever going through a period. And if you’ve been like fortunate enough to not have a lot of complications with your period, more power to you. But so many of us don’t have those. I had endometriosis and other issues and I had a lot of trauma with my period and so did my sister, as a matter of fact.

Trina (00:11:47) – But you don’t even need to really have significant issues with your period. Just getting it at school and having to deal with it is crazy hard. And so there was a new law passed in California called AB 367, and it was this amazing law that requires K-12 campuses to provide free period care products to in the girls bathroom, in the in the non binary bathrooms and even one male bathroom. And of course, Amanda, of course it was passed and no plans were made to implement the law, right?

Amanda (00:12:28) – Yeah.

Trina (00:12:30) – And so one of the hallmarks of a campus that is like digging into these issues is one that has a feminist student union, which is what I started and what I advise at my campus. And so we you know, my campus is not unique. If anything, it’s way ahead of the curve where I work because I’m there. I’ve got to be honest with you, because I’m there. Yeah, I will take credit for that. It’s been hard, but I have these amazing students who are just so empowered and we use this framework called Girl Up, which is through the United Nations.

Trina (00:13:06) – It’s a model framework for what a feminist club or feminist student union could do. And so we’re very empowered to do these things. And so we push, push, push, push, push. We did get machines up in the bathrooms, but that’s not, you know, a statewide issue. And I know the other schools on our campus of schools in our district don’t have it, but it’s just dealing with period care issues is a nightmare. I don’t know what I mean. We need to destigmatize periods for one, we need to educate everyone about periods. I mean, in a future episode where I bring in Manuela Allen, who is one of my dear friends and fellow members of our organization, she talks about it a little bit. Um, but you know, there are policy decisions that we talk about that are based around abortion care access, for example, which, you know, a lot of men sit around and make those decisions and their lack of knowledge about just periods has really tainted those conversations.

Trina (00:14:10) – And like recently, there was a. A ten year old girl who was raped and became pregnant. And it was all over the news. We talk about it in that future episode, and she had to cross state lines to get abortion care. And there was all this discussion around should this provider in this other state be held criminally responsible for providing care to a citizen of another state where it’s not legal, which is a whole ridiculous conversation right there. But I heard men learn and men in conversations on highly legitimate news platforms say they didn’t know a ten year old could even become pregnant, which is just I mean, that’s so much the problem. I mean, what do we talk about? Periods for one, we never Amanda, when I say like, we just don’t talk about periods enough, what do you think?

Amanda (00:15:03) – I agree. I mean, I remember feeling I mean, this is something I know that you you’re very aware of. And any woman is aware of whenever you act really emotional. I feel like I was always asked, are you on your period? You know, like somehow my emotions are minimized because I’m on my period.

Amanda (00:15:30) – I mean, they are impacted by our periods. And it does it is very a tumultuous time for boys and girls hormonally. But yeah, and just having your period, it’s not just about blood and like the hygiene of it all and trying to figure that all out in a classroom setting and like being able to go to the bathroom when you need to and, and you know, and feeling like you can’t or you have to wait or whatever. I mean, it’s it’s really bad. But just the emotional states of where you are when you’re an adolescent, even if you’re not on your period, you know, but then when you are on your period, just the way that it impacts your the way that you’re feeling that day and the pain, the amount of pain. Yeah, that’s a lot of experience. I mean, it’s it’s like some sometimes you feel literally sick, like you have to throw up and stuff and this happens once a month.

Trina (00:16:31) – I know.

Trina (00:16:34) – And we, we go to school and we not only do we go, but we have to pretend like nothing’s wrong. Yeah, it is. I think dealing with periods and keeping it hidden from men and the world and from each other is one of the things that conditions us to be complicit. Because it is periods are a lot to deal with. They just are. And our little ten, 11, 12 year old girls, it’s even harder. I mean, there are so many there’s such a school gender equity issue with that. I mean, you talked about going to the bathroom. There are so many oppressive practices around just being able to go to the bathroom, you know, and then to not have basic hygiene needs met in the bathroom. Like, what do you do if you don’t have a pad? Like, seriously, what do you do? I know what I did. I rolled up a bunch of T.P. and had to keep changing it out each passing period. Yeah, fucked up.

Trina (00:17:28) – And our girls are doing that, and they’re bleeding through their clothes and they are deeply traumatized. I mean, I’ve heard stories in my work with so many districts about girls being specifically teased in her ass about periods where boys are deliberately getting period care products, pouring red Gatorade on them, and then like throwing them at girls or leaving them where girls can see them as if having a period is somehow something worthy of harassment about. It’s like we have made no progress since the movie. Carrie what the hell are you guys? And that’s that’s the status of things right now, people.

Amanda (00:18:06) – And yeah, the problem is no one talks about it, and we need to. And that’s what we’re doing right now, right? Yeah. And. Yeah. And I don’t know if we want to get into the idea of having these student unions and having these groups of girls come together in community and how hard that is actually to implement in a school. It is like student unions versus clubs and that clubs have all these hoops to jump through and like they need a faculty advisor.

Amanda (00:18:43) – And if they can’t find that, then no, no, no, sorry, girls, you can’t do, you know, you can’t be in this girl up club or student union and so that it just falls apart because no staff, no staff wants to, you know, they just don’t have enough time to help this group of girls start to try and take action on their campus. Yeah. So I don’t know because that’s kind of what I’m facing right now because I’m trying you’re handing the baton over to me because I’m teaching high school in our district and trying to get this student union up and running. And we’re we’re kind of facing a lot of barriers to like actually becoming a student union and starting student unions at our school and not having to jump through all the hoops that like a chess club would have to jump through.

Trina (00:19:31) – I know. And like I. I’m torn between I mean, I’ve been in a district where there was no space created for unions, and unions are organizations of students who form an affinity space around their marginalized identity.

Trina (00:19:45) – And they work on, like creating critical conversations about improving things and celebrating their identity. Okay, so I’ve been in districts where that work was afoot, and it was deliberately, explicitly exclusionary to cisgender girls. And then I’ve been in work, I’ve done work, and I’ve I’ve been a part of conversations about districts where there was no unions. I’m not sure which is worse. I can’t make up my mind. I feel like maybe it’s worse being in a district where there are all these unions set up and girls don’t get to be a part of it. I think you might have an easier go of it right now. Amanda, I know that sounds crazy, but where you’re at right now, there is no focus and there are no deeply entrenched ideas about who gets to be a part of it and who doesn’t. Even though we all understand that cisgender girls are not a part of K-12 equity frameworks or the conversation, I think where you’re at, you have less of a road to hoe. A little bit, I don’t know.

Trina (00:20:48) – But. Yeah. I mean. Yeah, exactly. We’ll see.

Amanda (00:20:54) – So, yeah, like, what else do you like? Just kind of transitioning. Yeah.

Trina (00:21:01) – Moving on.

Amanda (00:21:02) – To. Because we’ve talked about period equity and AB 367 and not having enough resources to actually implement the law.

Trina (00:21:16) – Well, just one more thing about AB 367 is like you have to like have a bunch of different stakeholders, your head custodian, your buildings and ground supervisory leadership person, the school nurse, like all these different people who know how to do different parts of it all need to sort of come together, come up with systems to implement this law. And it’s not a new law anymore. It’s a few years old now, but you need machines and you need a system to keep them stocked and operational. And that’s kind of where we’re stuck right now in my campus. And we are ahead of the game. We have the machines. We don’t have a system to keep them stocked and operational. We’re getting there. But anyways, other under other gender equity issues are inclusion of girls and Stem programs.

Trina (00:22:02) – I feel like we’re always trying to come up with like a special initiative to get more girls in Stem, and it’s never really resolve. It’s always Herculean and I think it’s because we haven’t addressed the underlying problems of gender equity in our society. But there’s a continual problem of why we don’t churn out enough girls in Stem and not having women in science like there’s a big blind spot. I remember when I got my degree in anthropology, I learned all about Jane Goodall because we studied primate behavior and ecology extensively. And Jane Goodall had been a woman who was brought by Louis Leakey into the observation of chimps before she got her PhD and had been indoctrinated right into the world of male dominated science. And so she started studying these chimps and she named them and she spent time with them and she got deeply connected to them on emotional level. Now she’s the first to acknowledge that she crossed some boundaries, that she later never did again, because she didn’t have the scientific objectivism which she needed to have. But some of the things she did, quote unquote wrong.

Trina (00:23:14) – Um, we have become cornerstones in primate behavior methodology today. And and it took a woman entering that that world in order for us to just be better because it’s so exclusionary and you’re missing such an important perspective that is essential in good science. So there’s that. But there’s other gender biases in K-12, like we, you and I talk a lot about who gets included and who gets excluded from neurodiversity diagnoses and consideration. And I think we all know now that there’s a huge gender bias in ASD that’s autism spectrum disorder diagnoses, that is. I’m going to say tragic.

Amanda (00:23:59) – Yeah. And ADHD. Any any. Yeah. Like any sort of diagnosis. Yeah. Boys are always especially white boys are the ones that are diagnosed the most. And that is odd and problematic and tragic because there’s a lot of girls who aren’t diagnosed. And I mean, there’s this huge wave right now of women like in my age, in your age, who are discovering. That. Wow. I now know why I had so many problems growing up and no one ever diagnosed me.

Amanda (00:24:40) – They just called me lazy, overemotional, you know, like. I mean, it was my fault because I wasn’t trying hard enough. And and this is and even kids who mean I did really well in school. I got A’s and B’s and I was in advanced classes. And so because of that, you know, because my grades look good, No one there were no one ever even had any suspicions at all that that I might have ADHD or autism. And I just think there’s just a lack of awareness about the spectrum and and the many ways that that these these mental differences present in girls specifically because they do present themselves like the way that ADHD and autism are presented in girls is different than in boys. But I mean, everyone’s different. Like, have you ever heard the saying if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person? It’s the same thing with ADHD. You know, there’s such a huge range of the different symptoms of it, you know, and the different challenges, like a challenge for one person might not necessarily for one person with ADHD might not necessarily be a challenge for another person with ADHD.

Trina (00:26:04) – Amanda you know.

Amanda (00:26:06) – Yeah.

Trina (00:26:07) – So girls are not included in that neurodiversity conversation in the way that they should be. And the outcome of missing a girl who’s neurodivergent is could be potentially tragic. I struggled with an eating disorder. I turned it all my trauma. I grew up with trauma, but I also had a neurodivergent situation that was very pervasive and I developed mental health problems that were long lasting. I was I wound up in treatment for an eating disorder that nearly took my life. And there are other, more tragic outcomes for girls who are neurodivergent and missed very tragic outcomes, but also there are other biases there are in our classroom management. You know, I’ve really been fierce in noticing my own biases. I notice I call on boys more louder. Children get noticed more. In education. Girls tend to be more quiet. Now we say to yourself, Oh, I know so many loud girls. Sure. But as a rule, the girls are quieter because they’re conditioned to be quieter, especially in certain cultures, and they get missed.

Trina (00:27:15) – And that is also another reason why they have poor outcomes, because the squeaky wheels always get the grease right. And there’s a number of like entire frameworks. The most recent one I have been made aware of, which is racist and sexist, is this ridiculous continuum of engagement that two white people in Australia put together. That is some framework that’s being forwarded throughout US schools in K 12 that sort of has all of these behaviors of engagement and disengagement in the classroom, like outward signs, behaviors that you can notice on a kids in a kids, you know, behavior that suggest on a continuum how actively engaged or disengaged they are. And it’s super racist because it is got white implicit bias in it, but it’s also gender bias because it just shows these behaviors that are more typical of boys as being more engaged and typical of girls are being behaviors of girls disengaged. So anyways, there’s a lot of bias and it’s so deep, it’s so deep. And it’s also in our curriculum. Oh boy. Is there a gender bias in their curriculum? There’s a lot of like casually upholding rape culture in the books that we read casually upholding, um, you know, gender based discrimination in the books that we read.

Trina (00:28:37) – Because as a society we have to reckon with it. But the big one that Amanda keeps alluding to because she knows it’s going to be a big part of this episode is Title nine, right? So I did my entire thesis work, sort of trying to figure out what the deal was with Title nine and the reason why I wanted to do my thesis work on it, really my thesis I was driven to with two big equity problems in education, which is why I went into the leadership program in the first place. One was the racial justice nightmare, which is the reading opportunity gap. And I feel so angry on an everyday basis about our blind spot with that. And we are going to talk about it. However, I don’t have a reading intervention credential and so I thought I should focus on something that I am more aware about, which was gender equity, because I had run a domestic violence shelter, because I had managed rape crisis hotlines and because I had had so much experience working on this problem and my teaching practice, I decided to pursue the thesis work around this.

Trina (00:29:46) – And so my background is this When Trump’s comment about grabbing a woman’s body part was, you know, publicized right there at the end of his campaign to be elected, and then the MeToo movement launched, you remember that moment in history? Um, I had been a feminist for a very long time. I started working in shelters in the early 2000, so I’d been a, you know, a vehement feminist since about 2015. So when that comment hit the fan and this MeToo movement spurned, I was so excited because fighting for gender based violence and sexual violence and oppression against women prior to me too, felt so hopeless. It was so hard and so hopeless. And that work was very humanizing, especially like the other women I work with are so amazing. And. The victims. They were amazing. The staff were amazing, but it just felt like it was hopeless. Like we were never no one was ever going to care, you know how many. How many TV shows do you do you know of that are entire premise is based on killing of women like homicide of women is entertainment to people.

Trina (00:31:15) – I just felt like fuck were never going to make any traction on this. And so then when the comment hit the fan and I had just started a feminist club at my school, I remember we were a PBIs school, positive behavior intervention support school. And my former bits of coach had said to me, Hey, Trina, we’re starting up student clubs. Is there a club you want to start up to help the kids feel more connected to campus? And I thought, What am I going to do? I thought, Oh, I’ll do a feminist club. And I thought at the most we would talk about body image issues and dating boundaries like that would be it. This was a middle school. And so, like, that comment hit the fan just a couple of months after my first feminist club started. This is what, 2016? And all of a sudden it blew up. Like all all of these girls were just pouring into my meetings. It was so much more than I knew how to handle because although I was very aware of sexual violence issues, I had no idea what were the rules and laws and histories governing like K-12.

Trina (00:32:28) – Right. Um, and I had been quiet about it up until then, you know, like I hadn’t been like, I’m a feminist, um, because I was dealing with so much else. Am I teaching practice? And so a lot of girls were being brought to me sort of privately, covertly. Some had tried to report it to counselors who did nothing, didn’t understand, didn’t care, or, you know, it made it worse. Their situation got scarier and worse because now their perpetrators are mad at them for reporting. I mean, just there’s so much boys just and men just feel so entitled to their access to us and how dare we prevent them from having full access to us? How dare we say no is always what I have felt and heard personally with my own problems with harassment, sexual violence and stalking, but also with all the victims I work with. And I cannot even tell you how many victims, Thousands. I’ve worked with, probably thousands of victims. And so anyways, I got to work trying to figure out there was a horrible sexual violence problem afoot.

Trina (00:33:41) – I was hearing from multiple people and multiple places at the same time that it was pervasive. And it’s not just harassment. I mean, girls are there anytime you’re touched. That’s beyond harassment, that’s criminal. And it’s not that harassment can’t be criminal because it can be two, but it’s called sexual battery. And then any time there is penetration of a of a girl or a person, that is sexual assault. And so it’s happening all the time.

Amanda (00:34:13) – What about being slut shamed?

Trina (00:34:16) – Oh, totally.

Trina (00:34:22) – No, that’s definitely a part of sexual harassment. Like. So what is Title nine? This is what I learned when I started digging into the problem. I was like, learning, learning, learning, reading. You know how you and I are are neurodivergent word selves. I became obsessed and I read everything I could read and I came across Title nine, which I had heard of before. And if you’re an educator, you may know, Oh, that’s the law that says sports programs are supposed to be equal.

Trina (00:34:48) – That’s not what the law says. I’ve also seen misinformed educational curriculums about Title nine One was through K, through PBS learning, even where they say Title nine is about preventing sexual harassment in schools. No, it’s not even about that either. It’s specifically says that nobody should be denied access to their education because of their gender. And so that is a broad, sweeping concept, isn’t it? Right. The presentations of gender based oppression in an equitable and equitable practices based on gender has often included not giving girls equal access to resources in their sports programs. It’s also an easier, less stressful, less controversial thing to do. So that’s all we’ve done. And we haven’t even done a terrific job of that. Right? You know, you only need to look at girls professional and collegiate sports to see we’re not really there. But completely absent from that conversation are really what Patsy Mink, she was the one of the original authors of the law. She was the first woman of color in Congress ever. She passed away in early 2000.

Trina (00:36:08) – And I know President Obama spoke at her funeral. She was just a courageous woman. But one of the things she initially originally envisioned would be it would that sexual harassment would be a gender based problem which limited a girl’s access or a woman’s access to their education. And so the law applies to all schools that receive public money. So it’s K through 12 and it’s in the university settings and in the in the university settings, it’s got far greater compliance. And that’s because of the ageism of the sexual harassment and the sexual harassment and feminist movement. They’ve completely ignored girls. They focus only on women because women it takes a survivor to speak out to get any traction on the problem. And so, you know, I remember when I was going to Cal in the 90s, the Take Back the Night movement was a big deal and it took young women survivors to speak up. When I got my keys. Amanda from my dorm at Cal. There was a map in the dormitory offices where you picked up your keys and signed your contracts or whatever, and it had all these red dots all over the campus.

Trina (00:37:22) – And I said, What are all these red dots on this campus? And they very casually said, Oh, those are the most recent rapes on campus. Don’t walk around here alone at night. The end. And, you know, I lived in a dormitory housing unit way on the other side of campus called Stern Hall, which was I don’t know if it still is, but back then, only for girls. But the point was that you have there’s no way to walk through campus in a brightly lit area back then. So I was just always terrified going back to my dorm because of that. But there’s been a lot of traction. I’m not saying it’s perfect, it’s not. But since the first iteration of the law, there has been a lot of like. Best practices findings by the OCR, the Office of Civil Rights, about how to implement this thing. And I’m going to talk about what those are in a minute. But what I want to make clear right now is in K-12, we have piss poor implementation of this law, especially when you look at what’s going on in the university setting.

Trina (00:38:25) – And it’s really weird because in K-12 we have in loco parentis, right? Amanda Like local parentheses, we teachers are assuming a very significant responsibility over the entire welfare of our kids, and that is Latin for you. Act like the parent. You are the local parent in that space because their parent is not there. And I take that responsibility so seriously. My students are my world when they are with me and even when they’re not with me. Like I would die for my kids, I would jump in front of an active shooter to save their life in a heartbeat. And they all know it. And that is our responsibility. I’m getting emotional.

Amanda (00:39:09) – That’s okay. Yeah.

Trina (00:39:12) – That is our responsibility to our kids. And yet we have this completely unacceptable lack of implementation of this law. And does it to sexual harassment and sexual violence affect boys and other students? Yes, it does. It does. I’m not saying it doesn’t. But I am saying there’s a particularly disgusting lack of care being placed on what’s going on with our girls.

Amanda (00:39:43) – Well, all there is is these sexist dress codes that exist that make us feel bad about themselves and like, it’s their fault somehow.

Trina (00:39:54) – Oh, thank you for bringing up the dress codes. I can’t believe I forgot. My school got a non sexist dress code. We adopted the organ. Now the National Organization for Women’s model. Non sexist dress code. People, please, please get these dress codes implemented in your schools. It does. It has a chain. It’s one of those low effort, high leverage, what we call leadership. We have these terms. It’s an easy thing to do that has a high effect on on really reducing the sexism in your school culture. You know, we have a non sexist dress code at my school. And you’re right because it’s so gross. Amanda, When school staff are staring and ogling at girls bodies, deciding if they’ve breached the dress code and it’s always the curvy girls, right, that get coded, What’s your experience with that?

Amanda (00:40:47) – I mean, yeah, being put in that position as a teacher.

Amanda (00:40:51) – Like at one point I felt like one of the administrators, I’m not going to, of course, name any names or any school districts, but that was just like really coming hard, coming down hard on teachers, like blaming teachers for not speaking up when a student is not following dress code. And and just feeling very confused and uncomfortable about talking to someone about what they’re wearing and like having to send them to the office because of that. Just thank you. So uncomfortable. And I am a woman, you know. So like, how would a man feel doing that? You know, like appropriate? It’s very inappropriate.

Trina (00:41:42) – Totally inappropriate. And we have I’ve sat in meetings with other school staff and school leaders were actual body parts of girls were discussed in graphic detail. That is unacceptable. People that is sexualizing our girls.

Amanda (00:41:57) – Well, and guess what is mentioned in our dress code, which is. I just couldn’t believe it.

Trina (00:42:05) – Wait, at your current school?

Amanda (00:42:07) – Yes. Fishnet stockings are like that word.

Amanda (00:42:14) – That phrase is in the dress code. Like no fishnet stocking. I don’t know.

Trina (00:42:21) – That says so much, Amanda. There’s so there’s so many layers to that. So the dress code should only be about covering up certain body parts. It should not be about and also not wearing like drug paraphernalia or like shirts that express, you know, violence against an identity or or traumatic for. That’s it, right? Fishnets don’t bother anybody. That’s like saying that girls I mean, it’s also saying that girls have all this responsibility to keep boys from wantonly looking at them, and that makes them responsible for their own sexual violence because you wore the wrong thing. Right. Fishnets aren’t don’t do any of those things. You can wear fishnets, fishnets and girls do under a pair of shorts. Why? Oh.

Amanda (00:43:14) – Yeah. Well and I think this is I mean, I’ve talked to people. That I’m really close with, you know, and like friends and about this specific topic. And I feel like I’m always really appalled at what they say about how and even like in elementary school and I know you talked to Manny about this and when you recorded that episode that even like little, little girls, like third grade girls can’t wear spaghetti straps and and just feeling like that they’re to blame or that they’re distracting the boys and and they’re distracting the learning.

Amanda (00:44:02) – So they shouldn’t be wearing those things. And even, you know, like like what I was saying, like people that I respect their opinions believe that, you know, that that that that it it that you do need to dress in an appropriate way at school because school is about learning. It’s not about, you know, showing your cleavage or your belly or wearing fishnet stockings or whatever. And I just. It’s hard for me to. To come up with an argument for why that’s not a like that. Girls should be able to dress however they want and that they should be able to to be able to show cleavage and they should be able to wear fishnets and they should be able to wear whatever they want at school. And then like I had this argument with someone and they were like, well, what are you saying? Like, you’re saying that like, kids should be allowed to just show up naked at school. And I was like, No, I don’t. I’m not saying not I’m just saying that they should be able to wear what they want and like be able to show the skin that they want and be proud of their bodies and to feel like beautiful, you know, like and that doesn’t have to necessarily mean sometimes it does involve attracting boys, you know, because that’s like kids are sexual.

Trina (00:45:36) – No, of course kids are sexual, but boys are responsible for their own behavior.

Amanda (00:45:41) – Exactly.

Trina (00:45:42) – And if you set up a conversation around, well, girls are dressing in a way that is soliciting. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Boys and men have to go to the beach. Girls are wearing bikinis. There. Are they are we saying go ahead and rape us? We’re wearing bikinis here. No, it’s ridiculous that whole conversations And then also this. Well, should they just all be naked? That reminds me of the of the stupid refute. Um, when we were talking about gay marriage 20 years ago, were dogs and cats going to get married? Shut the fuck up with that. You know what I mean? Shut the fuck up with that. Of course not. Don’t be a reductionist idiot. The conversation isn’t about the kids showing up naked. It’s about not sexualizing the girls, setting up a dynamic where boys can not accept responsibility for their behavior.

Trina (00:46:31) – I honestly think, and I’ll be honest with you, my feminist student union girls will hate this. But I’m telling you, I think we should be wearing school uniforms. I think school uniforms solve a lot of problems. It is the norm in Europe. It solves a lot of problems with SES, socioeconomic status based discrimination. It solves problems with dress code. It should the school uniform should allow for gender based expression. However, students want to dress within that, dress within within the uniforms. But barring that, until we’re willing to do that, you need a non-sexist dress code and telling your listeners to go to National Organization for Women Oregon and just Google. Now Oregon non sexist dress code model policy. You’ll see it That’s the one we’ve adopted. And it just very very it’s very clear about these are the things that must be covered up period. That is it And girls can show shoulders. What are we saying? Girls can’t show their shoulders. Of course not. Right. Thank you for bringing up the non-sexist dress code.

Amanda (00:47:40) – Yeah. No, I. Yeah, that’s definitely related. Um, so back to our outline about, um, it seems like maybe we should talk about just kind of, well, I mean, I feel like we’ve, we’ve talked a little bit about Title nine and, like, what it is. Do you want to say anything else about it and its lack of implementation in schools? Yes.

Trina (00:48:08) – What we were talking about was the lack of we’re talking about the MeToo movement. And I got really excited that it was going to trickle down into K-12 schools because I was dealing with this like influx of all of these girls being brought to me and I couldn’t get any justice for them. All I could do was fall back on my harm reduction, safety planning, training that I had back at the shelter. So we would come up with these like strategies of like, which teachers can you tell this is going on? And so that you can ask for seat changes and what should be the path you take from your second period or your third period? Like all these strategies of ways to get out of like it’s all harm reduction.

Trina (00:48:47) – That’s all I could do for these these girls, which is unacceptable, right? And so I was like, when is this when is this MeToo movement going to trickle down into K-12? So we I got to work on it. I wrote Time’s Up, I wrote Me two, I collaborated with the Women’s March. And I either got I mean, Women’s March was really cool. They they allowed us to go in front of the line and march right way out in front the second, third, fourth year, which was rad. But they also made promises about centering Title nine in K 12 in their in their entire platform, which they didn’t do, but they at least showed up for us a little bit. Um, time’s Up said Nope, we’re not going to talk about the problem with children and and MeToo never wrote back. So that’s what the reality of the situation was. We dealt for years of this like, let’s make spaces safer for women, but let’s screw kids over. And I mentioned this before, like kids are their own marginalized identity.

Trina (00:49:56) – And so when I was learning and learning and learning more about Title nine and I started to understand that universities had better compliance, and I understood that ageism as a problem within feminist movement. It’s another intersection that feminists have not embraced. They have ignored children. And I think they’ve also ignored older women too. But specifically we’re talking about children. I decided to pursue this, right? I decided to pursue this master’s degree. And so I learned more and more. Here’s what Title nine is supposed to be based on the way in which the Office of Civil Rights through the US Department of Education has put forth to our nation. Okay, so it’s supposed to include first the prevention piece. So K-12 kids are supposed to get regular education on what sexual harassment is, and it’s supposed to be age appropriate and sexual violence. So every year it has to be a little different because kids are getting older and older and more sophisticated. You’re not going to talk about something graphic with an 11 year old, for example, or, you know, a five year old.

Trina (00:51:08) – But they do need to understand about consent and boundaries and what the what a breach of boundaries is. The other thing is the staff are all the staff just like we get mandated reporter training on reporting child abuse as we suspect in the home. We’re also supposed to be holding ourselves and our kids accountable so we don’t report when we have some problem with another one of us. When we see that one of us is crossing boundaries, or we suspect that one of us is sexually abusing a kid, who do we tell? We call law enforcement. No, we don’t. We don’t report to an outside agency like we would immediately do to report a parent. We think of parents doing it, Oh, we’ll call CPS in a heartbeat if you suspect you report, unless it’s happening at school. And then. That’s right. We cover it up. And so we don’t have clear reporting procedures and we aren’t trained. You are just as mandated to report abuse, sexual abuse happening at school as you are. What is going on in the home.

Trina (00:52:15) – And I think one of the bigger problems that gets in the way of us addressing student on student sexual harassment and violence is because there’s so much cover up about what is going on with staff on student sexual violence. And there are whole spheres of people involved in and hushing that up, covering it up and not letting the public see it. I’ve just become aware of it. It’s obviously less common than student on student sexual harassment and violence, but I’ve heard so many stories. I think every campus eventually has to face this problem. And teachers who’ve attempted to really dig into those problems in my confidential study, it’s been a number of people who I’ve interviewed, some of which made it into my thesis, a lot of which did not, but who tried, who had their entire careers destroyed for trying to fight for those kids and fight against the teachers. And not just that, they then became targets of harassment, bullying and stalking themselves. I mean, it’s just horrific, the amount of cover up. So again, staff should be trained, staff are required to report, and you’re supposed to report to an outside agency, just like you don’t report suspected child abuse at home to your principal.

Trina (00:53:31) – You don’t report suspected or for sure what you’ve seen as sexual harassment or sexual violence in the school to your principal, either it’s supposed to go to your Title nine coordinator, and if it’s criminal, it goes to law enforcement. And that gets me to the Title nine coordinator. Portland coordinators are supposed to be people who are very well trained on this law, who personally respond to every single reported incident. And you’re supposed to have clear reporting protocols like teachers and school staff should know exactly how to report. Kids should know exactly how to report, should be clear. Everybody should know exactly who your Title nine coordinator is. The wording is widely promulgated. Everybody’s supposed to know it. It’s supposed to be discussed often. Nobody should be guessing about any of this information. And the Title nine coordinator should be well known to everyone in the community. The way schools get around implementing this law is they slap Title nine coordinator onto an existing leader at district office, if you even have that at all. There are districts, one in particular that I’m thinking of that up until very recently didn’t even have someone on their website called a Title nine coordinator.

Trina (00:54:44) – And then when one of their staff members started poking around and asking about it, they slapped it onto their student director of student services. That doesn’t cut it. That person’s in charge of discipline, and no one and no one knew. I mean, I got reports back from the staff member that they were asking their site based leadership, who’s our Title nine coordinator, And people kind of shrugged and said, You mean that thing about sports? And this person was like, No, who do we talk to when there is a problem with sexual harassment at school? And they didn’t know. They didn’t know. And then that person kept digging and digging until finally and they talked to the director of student services. This person reported back to the staff member. Look, I have trained all of this school leaders to be my investigators. And then they went back to the school leaders and they were like, huh? They were trained. So just like everything in K-12, it’s all about making things look legit on paper and not actually implementing.

Trina (00:55:43) – Because if we if we really implemented this law, we would be flooded. We would be flooded with, you know, time consuming, onerous, expensive. Expensive amount of problem that we would have to deal with because we have not done anything to get ahead of it. We don’t talk about it. There’s no global messaging in our schools. We don’t address it. We pretend like it’s not a problem or what. I’ve also heard people say to me that they’ve gotten back from their leaders. This is just the way boys act. Oh, you know, this is middle school boys. That’s just how they act. I mean, that’s still being said today. Do we tolerate that behavior in men at work? No. So why do we tolerate in boys in middle school like they’re learning early that it’s okay to act this way? And so, you know, there are a lot of us know of Kenan Safe Schools. This is a platform of getting a lot of different trainings that were required to have done, you know, Covid safety mitigation strategies, Bloodborne pathogens, even our child abuse reporting.

Trina (00:56:46) – There is a can in safe schools for and that’s the name of the company we use here in the Bay Area. There is one for mandated student on student harassment reporting. Very few school districts use it, but it is there. It it would be at least a step in making it look like we were actually compliant in a lot of these districts that haven’t taken any of these steps. And by the way, no district that I that’s the long and the short of it is that after all this exhaustive research I did, I found a dearth of knowledge in K-12 scholarship. It’s not not been investigated in K-12. None of the people pursuing higher education degrees in education, specifically targeting K-12, have investigated this. I had to get all of my information from a few trailblazing lawyer women who’ve published their information because they litigate these cases. But it’s missing the voice of K-12 staff. And so it’s missing a critical component. Like there are lawyers. You know, you and I sat down and we’ve talked to some who are working on this in the Bay Area, and they are just baffled, like they litigate these cases and they don’t understand why the school leaders sit there looking kind of like a.

Trina (00:58:04) – Or the shitting grin, sorry that they have. They’re like, Here’s your money. Because they’re used to paying out lawsuits. They’re not willing to change anything. It makes no change. So we have to be the ones to step up and change. And I know you guys know this. You saw all those girls walking out of our schools and there was not a single there was like a wave of girls walking out of our campuses all over the state and the country protesting the fact that they have tried to report how frightening and harmful and traumatic it is to be a girl in K-12 campuses. And nobody has done anything to help them. Like there’s no adults that ever go to a podium when they’re having their walkouts and their press is there to speak on their behalf. Where are the adults? Where are the adults in these spaces? Just to sort of explain some of the problems that that girls are having with this issue, There’s rampant problems with child pornography, where a boy will get a picture of a nude or a picture of a girl performing a sex act on a boy.

Trina (00:59:08) – And then they or with a boy and they promulgate they spread it around their different friend groups. And it’s treated as a disciplinary issue and not a criminal one. There is rampant sexual battery. It’s really bad in spaces that are not well supervised by adults. So p um, spaces that students have access to, like auditoriums where there’s little or no supervision, but also passing periods in the hallways. And I’ll just be honest with you, there’s a lot of rape happening on our campuses. Girls are being raped during class time in spaces that that perpetrators are able to pull breezeway, bathrooms, pull their victims into and not be noticed. And then there’s also just criminal sexual harassment of minors happening where it’s chronic, it’s pervasive, and they’re not getting any of the help. And also sexual battery girls are being touched and grabbed inappropriately like constantly in our schools. Um, the other thing Tomlinson is supposed to have, besides clear reporting procedures, staff training, kid education, a clear Title nine coordinator is supposed to have supportive measures on the OCR is pretty clear about this.

Trina (01:00:32) – Like once a kid reports. And right now, in most places it’s impossible to even know how to report. But once they report, they’re supposed to be a lot of harm reduction strategies put into place to minimize the disruption of the girls or the students experience at school, access to school during the investigative process. That is not happening. It’s something we should be doing. Things like criminal stay away orders. I know I did that when I worked with domestic violence and sexual assault adults scheduling schedule changes that minimise disruption to the victim’s schedule. Um, telling the what the stay away orders is telling the perpetrators to stay a certain feet away. There’s like a lot of things you’re supposed to be doing to to minimize the disruption and minimize the harm of the investigative process for the victim. None of that is happening. Also, students and parents are supposed to be kept in the loop of the investigative process. Not happening frequently. They don’t ever find out what’s happened to their report. Um, and what this winds up resulting in for some of the worst cases is that girls change schools.

Trina (01:01:42) – Right. And I want to draw attention to something that I think we’re all over. I know we’re all overlooking. It’s the gender enrollment disparities in our some of our schools. So in schools with what we call poorly controlled culture and climate. And Amanda, you and I are going to do a whole episode on this term culture and climate. But in places where it’s super chaotic because the staff are just way overwhelmed with behaviors of trauma. And so the kids are acting out and it’s super unsafe for everyone. But in places where it’s in these kinds of schools, there is a gender enrollment disparity that is pretty glaring that nobody is noticing. The girls flee these environments and they kind of go where they can. They go to charter schools, they go to alternative schools, you go to independent study, and nobody’s looking at the extent to which girls are leaving these environments because they are too scared to go to school. Like it’s a huge problem and it’s super. That’s one of the probably easiest things to notice, like right off the bat of the gender based equity nightmare that is our K-12 schools.

Trina (01:02:50) – I’m going to pause and let you talk, Amanda.

Amanda (01:02:57) – Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much, Trina, for all of your wisdom and knowledge and just shining light on all of this. And when you talk about girls leaving schools, I was one of them, right? Like, I mean, I don’t know if we’re going to do a separate episode on this, but I had to switch schools because of. I mean bullying, harassment by boys. When I was in middle school. Right. And so I have a personal story related to all of this. And honestly. Uh, I mean, this all happened when I was 12, and I’m not going to go into the details of it, but at the time I thought it was all my fault, you know, that I was being victimized by my entire school. Basically all the students, all my peers, and, you know, even my parents, you know, it made me feel like it was my fault. And I basically have lived my entire life up to the point when I met you, Trina, how many years have we known each other now? Like 2 or 3.

Amanda (01:04:11) – Uh, thinking that it was my fault until I met you and I joined your your group for your thesis and told my story. And you were the first adult. To say that was sexual harassment. You were victimized and harassed and there were no adults there to. To recognize it and to be there for you and to support you. Instead, all the adults said like, Let’s take her and put her in this like, really tiny school. Hopefully she’ll survive. Like, let’s go do that. And I did survive. But I also have a lot of problems as an adult that I’m still unpacking and and going to therapy for, you know, very, very low self esteem feeling. Yeah. Feeling like feeling like I just am not enough, you know? And it’s been, you know, like eating disorder, just a lot of different things. And it’s embarrassing to go through like all of the negative impacts that, that, that period in my life had and just, yeah. Realizing how traumatizing it was and how many girls are still like still feeling like just so alone, isolated, like it is their fault, not even even realizing they’re being harassed because the stuff isn’t talked about openly by adults, you know? And so how can a kid have like, it’s just crazy to expect that a kid who’s being harassed, whether it’s a girl or boy or trans or whatever, to to to realize that it’s harassment, first of all.

Amanda (01:06:08) – And then to actually like just you always talk about self possession, to not have any adults like around you in your corner to have self possession enough to even go and talk to someone about it and then to like to report it. And then to have a leader or a teacher or an administrator kind of almost interrogate you to, to and make you feel like maybe you were you caused it somehow. Because I feel like that is what happens. Like if if a girl does or a boy or whoever does go and report it, they feel and we have like personal stories about this, like, like kids who have, you know, felt like they like they were being interrogated, like they did something wrong. Right. And they what.

Trina (01:07:05) – Happens is there’s a number of ways in which a culture forms to silence girls. So like a lot of girls are told you’re not once they if they ever, like you say, have the self possession enough to report. And most don’t because they’re humiliated by the experience.

Trina (01:07:22) – What they do is they go and report and then the administrator says, you’re not allowed to talk about it as if that’s something you’re allowed to say to a kid. You’re not allowed to discuss it like it’s school policy to not repeat to anyone else. And then they don’t call the parents. How dare they not call the parents and tell them what’s going on with their kid? That’s that’s so outrageous to me. And then the third thing that they do is they don’t properly code it in the disciplinary records. If it even gets documented, it doesn’t get they’ll call it anything else to get away with not calling it sexual harassment and not calling the, you know, the perpetrators parents either like these things have are these what’s happening is site based leaders are not trained. And I have a lot of sympathy and empathy for them. They’re not properly trained. They’re left with their hands holding this bag of a mess they don’t know how to deal with. But you guys, you’re making it so easy for district and state and federal leadership to not deal with this problem.

Trina (01:08:27) – You’re covering it up for them. And the reason why it’s affecting the teacher shortage is because our kids are so traumatized by this stuff. Since the influx of this, you know, male supremacy movement that’s really huge on the Internet right now. And it intersects with the white supremacy movement. It’s they’re the same people. There is a, you know, incel, whatever you want to call it, Menace is what the girls have been telling me. It’s more recently called backlash going on as if we’ve accomplished anything that we would need a backlash for. We certainly have not, especially in K 12. But I mean, when my students were out there just trying to spread awareness around Women’s History Month issues like they were celebrating women throughout history, boys were saying things to them like what about men? Where’s men? Where’s Men’s History Month? What about men isn’t good. Get into the kitchen and start cleaning the bathrooms like and they’re hearing this on the Internet. So when when our students are traumatized and traumatizing others, that is the chaos on your campuses, guys.

Trina (01:09:37) – That is why being at school every day is so. Hard on why the kids act so crazy is because they’re all traumatized by their behavior and by the behavior of others. And it’s happening on our campuses. And our kids don’t know that they deserve better. And you may think not at my school, I promise you, your school, definitely your school. It’s happening on all of our campuses. And the more I find out about it and I look around, I’m like, Did you hear about this? No. Did you hear? And people laugh it off and they act like it’s no big deal. It is a huge problem.

Amanda (01:10:15) – I think about the perpetrator, like you talk about the perpetrator and the boys and this minute minimum. I’ve never actually heard that term before. I feel like just every time that this happens, we’re missing and there’s cover ups. Yeah, we’re missing this, like, super important opportunity.

Trina (01:10:39) – Opportunity to intervene. Because when I was working at the domestic violence shelter and I would hear about these men who were so far gone, you know, a male child as a mother of a son.

Amanda (01:10:51) – They’re born perfect, so able to love, give and receive love. Society ruins our men, ruins our boys. But that stupid gender role of what is expected of boys and men. Nobody can be that. No man can do that. It is traumatic, right? And so and then they get these horrible examples of masculinity that they emulate. But when you have an 11 year old boy. Who is? Conducting himself in a way that he is chronically exhibiting a pattern of sexual harassment of the girls on the campus. And we don’t call that what it is. We not only we not only deny the experiences of all the girl victims, we’re denying that boy the opportunity to become whole. Because I’m telling you right now, boys, that act this way become men who are deeply fragmented and unable to be like in a loving, committed relationship that is sound and whole with another human being. And that’s. That’s a result that is avoidable. You know, I weep for the boys, too. I truly do.

Trina (01:12:00) – This is an amazing opportunity to intervene on both parties to to create, like, solidly whole adults in the world where we’re not constantly fighting these battles in adult spheres and at universities because we’ve dealt with it in the K-12 world. Oh.

Amanda (01:12:19) – Well. And I mean, going back to the teacher shortage crisis and teachers leaving and it is like like very, very high rates since the pandemic and students behavior changing and becoming more and more extreme.

Trina (01:12:39) – Yes, more and more and more extreme, you guys. Way more extreme.

Amanda (01:12:43) – And it’s. Yeah. And it’s like, no wonder girls are leaving. And also teachers are leaving because no one’s talking about it. We’re just continuing on with academics because that’s all teachers know how to do. Like apparently, I mean, barely, right? We have to have a curriculum even for academics. But it’s just and so I just. I think that a lot of teachers may be listening. And if you’re still listening, wow, you’re thank you. Like you want to join Sasb because you go to super long.

Trina (01:13:21) – If you go to the website, you’ll see you’ll see some of us there. Listen, you don’t have to be public. It’s we we protect your confidentiality and no district or school site is ever discussed. Like it’s not about it’s not about demonizing one school, one district, or even, like, much less a person. It’s about drawing attention to the whole problem. This is a nation wide problem. It doesn’t matter what school because it’s happening in all the schools.

Amanda (01:13:52) – Yeah. And well, and also, I mean, I feel like this is pretty connected to these issues are connected also to school shootings and like just guns being brought to school and it’s always boys, you know?

Trina (01:14:07) – Yeah. I mean, there’s frequently a domestic violence situation going on.

Trina (01:14:11) – Yeah, but yeah, we’re ruining our boys. We are ruining our boys. So I love the term menace. I just wish it was not at the expense of females. You don’t have to be oppressing girls to be a man. And you know, I hate the gender role for typical men as much as I hate the gender role for typical female, they’re both very limiting and oppressive.

Amanda (01:14:35) – Yeah, I agree. And we need to stop covering this stuff up and start talking about it. And that’s what we’re starting. We’re starting this conversation here on this podcast. And also, I mean, it’s been a long conversation. How long has it been? It’s been over an hour, but that’s okay. We’re fine. Whatever. It’s okay. This is important stuff. And I think like as teachers, we wonder, well, what can I do? You know, like, what can I specifically do? I’m just one teacher who teaches math or English or whatever, and like, I have to stick to my subject area. And the reason that people don’t know, like aren’t fully aware of what’s going on in their schools. Like, for example, me, you know, when I first met you, Trina, and you started talking about sexual harassment on our campus, I was like, What? What are you talking about? Like what? Sexual harassment. Like, I was pretty blind to a lot of this stuff until I met you.

Amanda (01:15:39) – And so I just. I don’t want teachers to feel bad, you know, about their blindness, because it is easy to be blind to put blinders on and to just go in your classroom and teach your subject and leave. And I think that’s like what teachers have to do in this oppressive system to survive. And so I just want to say, like, we see you and we hear you and we understand why you’re doing that, because this is this is hard stuff to look at. And and then to actually, like maybe try and take action somehow in your school by starting a student union or a feminist club girl up club or a non sexist dress code dress code or getting.

Trina  (01:16:26) – a period equity campaign.

Amnda (01:16:27) – Like these are all like small little steps that a teacher could do. But if they’re all alone on their campus thinking about these things like, yeah, like please contact us and we have two meetings. It’s on. Do you want any state to come?

Trina (01:16:42) – Any state you call us up. We will shower you with love and affection.

Trina (01:16:47) – And I know. I know you’re alone.

Amanda (01:16:52) – Because you were as I was. And you still are honest because we’re not the same school.

Trina (01:16:58) – But I have I have SSVSA, I have you guys, and we get to meet in the real world because we’re all kind of close. But we have people we talk to that are are far away. And I know like. I know you may feel like it’s not. You can’t you can’t do anything to help. You may feel like I’m a man. Why should I? Can’t help. Yes, you can. You can. I mean, for one thing, there is model school board policy from the California School Board Association about how to have a proper school board code for Title nine. It’s not perfect. I’ve looked at it and annotated it with my mentor. Heidi Goldstein. I think maybe she’ll come on this podcast. And we’ve looked at it’s not perfect, but it’s head and shoulders above what a lot of districts we’ve looked at actually have. And then also your school district probably does have a school board adopted policy about Title nine, because in light of me to a lot of schools, a lot of districts tried to like make things look right on paper.

Trina (01:17:58) – And I mean, it’s very oppressive that they’re not following it, but at least it gives you something to hold up and say, Hey, this is what we say we’re doing and we’re not doing it. But I will say this. Don’t do it if you’re not tenured. Because you need this is where tenure is. That one thing we have that really helps because you will face backlash, you will face microaggressions, and it will feel like you’ve lost all of your social capital because you will. I lost all of mine fighting for this. Um. But it’s worth it. I mean, it’s think about the payoff, you know, and what Amanda was saying was starting small, like do start small with the feminist student Union, a Women’s History Month campaign that you recognize somehow school wide and, you know, non sexist dress code, the period equity campaign, all of these things get your school ready for that big heavy lift of implementing like really implementing Title nine. And it really starts when you get ready for it is with global messaging about your school superintendent, your school leader saying we do not tolerate sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus.

Trina (01:19:09) – This is what we mean by sexual harassment and sexual violence. And just saying that like, I don’t even have that. I’ve never even seen a message to school, to a school community anywhere in the country that at least admonishes. The act of sexual harassment and sexual violence. That’s how far away we are from implementing this law. And by the way, Title nine is over 50 years old, and I still are not sure what the historical implementation of this law has looked like ever. From what I can tell, it’s never been implemented. And that’s because of the mess of K 12. Right? Because. Legislators made this law that don’t work in K-12. K-12 is so oppressive because the teachers themselves are not included in the process of forming and reforming our standards of practices. So it’s so layered and nuanced with the oppression that it’s never been implemented and no one’s ever noticed. I mean, no one is a strong word, but it’s a good generalization here. Few people have noticed. So I think that might be the end of this podcast episode.

Amanda (01:20:18) – Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for listening all the way through. And if you are someone who just listened all the way through, please go to Dawg and click Contact us and email us and join us. We have a meeting in a couple of weeks and it’s on Zoom. And you know, if you really like want to join us, we are We will welcome you with open arms because the reason that website exists is to help educators in our country not feel so isolated and to to really get to empower you. Because really, my relationships with our group, really, I carry those with me every day that I walk into my school building and I feel more empowered because I have other teachers who get it and understand and like, yeah, to be alone in all of this, that’s very challenging. But to have a group of teachers who understand you and that you can talk to that, that’s empowering and it can help you make moves in your school community. So.

Trina (01:21:34) – And we need you because we need more voices.

Trina (01:21:38) – We need to understand it more like it’s not just about you getting help. It’s about you giving help. Your experiences are so valuable, they are invaluable. We need to know more about what’s going on because we are siloed and because this problem is being covered up, it’s only being researched you guys outside of K12 scholarship and that is not going to cut it. We need to be creating our own content about the problem.

Amanda (01:22:03) – And you are you’re in the middle of, you know, writing a book about it. And this series, this Teacher Shortage series, is going to become a book. I’m going to make sure and do everything I possibly can to make sure that this series becomes a book. So yeah, we’re we’re working on all of this stuff, and thank you, Trina, for all your time and wisdom. And let’s go ahead and wrap it up. Goodbye, everyone. We’re going to be back with another episode soon where we’re going to continue to to bring in more like actual stories of people in the classroom.

Amanda (01:22:45) – I mean, my story is kind of in here a little bit in this episode, in your story a little bit. But yeah.

Trina (01:22:53) – Manuela Allen, she’s a champion of the intersection of race and gender based equity in K-12 is going to be speaking in the next episode.

Amanda (01:23:06) – Cool. Okay. Bye.



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