BERKELEY (KCBS) — Students are targeting sexual harassment at Berkeley High School after recent events, including an offensive Instagram account, prompted them to take action.
Women young and old handed out free t-shirts at a tent set up in the park across from Berkeley High School. Some said they plan to wear the shirts to make a point next Monday.
“My shirt says: Stop blaming my body for your harassment, thanks,” Alice Rossman, a senior who’s involved with the group BHS Stop Harassing, told KCBS.
Earlier this year, some students reported an Instagram “slut” page, created by some male students, to school administrators with photos of female students along with sexual captions.
“They (the Instagram account holders) then went on and said, ‘Well, we have to take this account down; it’s been reported but the girls who reported this are the biggest whores in the school.”
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The goal of BHS Stop Harassing is to educate students about inappropriate behavior and where they can seek help — and to eventually improve what it perceives to be the vastly inadequate sexual harassment policy and preventive education at Berkeley High
Some students responsible for the page have been suspended but unrest remains.
“The administration had told the teachers not to discuss it with the kids. Whoa! A teachable moment and you guys are passing on it. Why is that?” parent Heidi Goldstein said.
Currently, a petition is being passed around to encourage teacher training, and more outreach to student about sexual harassment as well.
Rebecca Levinson, an adult advisor to the group, takes a larger view of Title IX complaints at universities.
“What’s happening there is horrible but if you really backup for a second, the truth is those kids in college came from high school.”
Sexual harassment is a topic that student like freshman AJ Estrilliado are talking about.
“I heard something about this and well—it’s just not O.K.” he said. “It could be here, it could be another school. It could be anywhere.”
Calls made by KCBS to Berkeley High administrators were not returned.