How teachers respond to sexual harassment is important as it can impact greatly on the cultures of consent and respect amongst students. Rachael Curzons writing in The Guardian suggests three simple steps to effectively deal with harassment in schools:
- Challenge sexist language – don’t just respond by asking the student not to use such language, instead engage students in a conversation where they are required to critically analyse what they’ve said and why they said it.
- Deal with causes, not consequences – for example, if harassment occurs during mixed PE lessons, the answer is not to segregate boys and girls during games but rather to deal appropriately with the incident. Support the victim and apply the school behavioural policy to the perpetrator – along with engaging them in discussions about their behaviour to help them understand why it is unacceptable.
- Examine your own assumptions – analyse how you treat students, do you deal equally with male and female students? Do you have any subconscious assumptions which are affecting how you behave?