School of Education: Legal Seminar Videos

Sexual Harrassment: Scenario 1


Senerio #1

Dr. Erma Jean Sims,
Sonoma State University

Let's look now at the first scenario. We know now that it's certainly possible to have sexual harassment student to student. For a very long time the court looked primarily at teacher to student sexual harassment. More recently they have begun to say that student to student sexual harassment is illegal. In the past it was viewed primarily as kids being kids not of a very serious nature; frequently the inability of the two kids to carry out the harassment after having been admonished not to do so.

So here we have two fifth grade students in a classroom. A fifth grade student named Sarah is complaining about her classmate Bobby. On several separate occasions, Bobby approaches Sarah and makes comments such as, 'I want to get in bed with you,' and 'I want to feel your boobs.' In another instance Bobby puts a doorstop; you may remember those old fashioned rubber doorstops that you slip underneath the edge of the door that keeps it open. Bobby puts the doorstop in his pants and then proceeds to rub his body against Sarah in the hallway. Sarah reports these incidents at the time of occurrence to her teacher and her mother and also informs the principal. So we can see Bobby's a pretty busy guy here.

Let's look at our questions for discussion; we are going to spend about five minutes with colleagues talking about: Does Bobby's actions constitute sexual harassment? Now we are going to look for in our packets some specific language in the law to support your findings. And then number two: What actions and this is important for us as classroom teachers to think about, what actions can we as teachers take to stop the sexual harassment of Sarah? What would you do in your own classroom to stop the harassment of Sarah? And then lastly, does the teacher have a responsibility to report Bobby's conduct? And if so, to whom? Let's take about five minutes to share with our colleagues our thoughts around this scenario.

CREDITS: Instruction and Content by Dr. Erma Jean Sims, Sonoma State University. Videography and Technical support by Mark Niemann, Sonoma State University