Teaching Sexual Consent & Egalitarian Relationships in a "Me Too" Era
The development of the “Me Too” movement, with its focus on the widespread culture of sexual coercion and violence in various institutions of American society, has posed vital issues for our schools. Those issues were placed in clear relief in the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, with the revelations of toxic customs of male sexual entitlement and disrespect toward women and girls in the high school and college he attended. It can no longer be denied that education plays a central role -– for better or for worse –- in the development of attitudes toward sexuality and in the ways in which those attitudes are acted upon.
What should schools, from pre-K through college, be doing to educate our youth into responsible and respectful conceptions and practices of sexuality? Given the number of questions that have arisen around sexuality, such as the emergence of a multiplicity of LGBTQIA sexual identities, what constitutes an educational approach to sexuality that is respectful of all? When and where is it appropriate -– and, indeed, feasible -– for schools to intervene in the social interactions of youth and what forms should such interventions take? From a variety of perspectives, from K-12 schooling to higher education to legislative, our panel discussed these questions.
Malcolm Davis, Teacher, Baltimore City Public Schools and member, Baltimore Teachers Union
Janella Hinds, Vice President for Academic High Schools, United Federation of Teachers
Stephanie Hoover, Research Scientist, Center for Health Equity Research, University of North Carolina
Ariana Kelly, member, Maryland House of Delegates, District 16
Moderator:Leo Casey, Executive Director, Albert Shanker Institute