By Benjamin Kane (Editor-in-Chief):
On Friday, March 8th, students at Sharon High School protested against the school’s response to sexual harassment many had faced during their time at the school.
Students started the morning before class distributing and posting letters in regards to the school’s handling of sexual harassment. Specifically, students took issue with the ways administration presented information about sexual assault during an assembly with each of the four grades on Wednesday. These assemblies, which were each 30 minutes long, gave no time for them to ask questions and reflect with school leaders, which was especially important after the presentation of sensitive and touchy subjects.
Students were upset with the light-heartened and sometimes joking manner the presentation used to pass messages to students. Videos and memes were interspersed throughout the PowerPoint, which gave many in the audience a sense that the topic was being taken lightly. “Your efforts were in vain, kids thought you were joking, I guess it’s time now that we’re even more outspoken” one of the letters addressed to the school said.
Many also said that an assembly was not enough to properly respond to the topic. “Sexual harassment and assault cannot be swept under the rug. A brief assembly and a few tasteless PSAs are not an acceptable response. We are left with no choice but to demand that the rightful actions be taken,” another letter said.
Distribution of the letters, which took place before class began and during first period, was quickly stopped by school administration. The first bell for class rang at 8:00 am, and by 10:30 the hallways and windows had been wiped clean of any letters or messages to the school. School officials said that they were taien down because they were flammable objects covering school walls, which poses a fire hazard.
Students continued into the auditorium during third block, where they heard from peers, teachers, and Superintendent Dr. Greer about the school’s handling of sexual harassment. Greer acknowledged that students had the right to be heard and that they had the right to answers. However, not all details could be shared. “This is an ongoing investigation,” Greer said to the students in the auditorium, in reference to a specific case of harassment.
Students left the auditorium after third period, leaving a number of demands for answers unfulfilled. However, the rhetoric of almost all of the students leading the session in the auditorium was one that suggested that the issue was far from being resolved. “I know that a lot of questions were asked and not all were answered, which is why we’re going to continue to have these discussions,” a student leader said as people filed out of the auditorium.
Those who participated in speaking or being in the audience in the auditorium were commended by their peers and teachers for their respectful and peaceful manner. “The protest was peaceful, and students were able to share their thoughts and voice their concerns,” Greer said an a statement to the community.
Photo by Gabe M-T