Harassment in the Schools

Article excerpt

ADOLESCENCE is a time when boys and girls cautiously get to know each other - flirting, dating, and exploring relationships. But editors at Seventeen magazine recently discovered a darker side of teenage behavior when they asked readers about sexual harassment at school. More than 4,200 girls between the ages of 9 and 19 responded and told of being fondled, grabbed, and subjected to suggestive remarks. Almost two-fifths said they were sexually harassed daily, and nearly 30 percent said such incidents occurred weekly.

The survey cannot be considered statistically valid; respondents are self-selected. Still, the report should be taken seriously, because the problem too often is not. Although more than three-fourths of the girls said they told someone about the incidents, in 45 percent of cases schools did nothing. Sexual harassment in schools is illegal.

The Seventeen findings come at a time when courts are beginning to reject "boys will be boys" as a justification for inappropriate sexual conduct. This month four high school boys in Glen Ridge, N. …