What's missing in Ontario's high schools?

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What's missing in Ontario's high schools?



[url=http://soapboxspinster.blogspot.com/2008/02/whats-missing-in-ontarios-hi...'s missing in Ontario's high schools?[/url]


Imagine an average Ontario high school classroom of around 30 students.

If it is indeed an ‘average’ class, eight of the girls and four of the boys sitting in those rows of desks have been victims of verbal forms sexual harassment at school.

Five of those girls and two or three of the boys have been touched or grabbed in an unwanted sexual way – again, while at school.

And if it’s an older class, at least eight of the girls and around three of the boys have been pressured into doing something sexual they didn’t want to do.

OK, so imagining, let alone finding an “average” high school classroom in Ontario would be impossible, but that doesn’t make these numbers any less real or alarming.

These are the statistics that came out of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s recent study on sexual harassment and related behaviours among youth, released this week. The study surveyed more than 1,800 grade 9 and 11 students in 23 Ontario schools.

The CAMH study confirms and emphasizes the findings of the School Community Safety Panel’s 1,000+ page report on safety in Toronto public schools (a.k.a. the Falconer Report, named for the panel’s chair Julian Falconer), released just a few days before.

The Falconer Report found that in Toronto, sexual assaults and sexual harassment are happening in schools at a startling rate, that girls are much more likely to experience it than boys, and, moreover, that most cases are going unreported.

Both studies also show that experience of sexual harassment in schools is closely related to very serious long-term effects in students, including depression, low self esteem, missed school days, declining grades, and substance abuse.

In short, gender-based forms of violence and harassment in high schools are a bigger problem than perhaps anyone realized.