Students Get Lesson in Sexual Harassment

Article excerpt

Byline: John Ferak Daily Herald Staff Writer

High school has gotten complicated.

It isn't just reading, writing and arithmetic any more. Students today are armed with drug and alcohol abuse lectures, AIDS prevention tips and now even sexual harassment warnings.

With sexual harassment lawsuits growing in our culture, Geneva High School officials thought it best to add sexual harassment to their instruction - at least on Thursday.

"It is a good thing to prepare students for the real world," said Tom Rogers, Geneva High School's student activities director. "You hear more and more about sexual harassment in the news. The more educated students are, the better."

Rogers brought in Jennifer Knapp, a graduate assistant at Northern Illinois University and rape crisis counselor in DeKalb.

"The key to sexual harassment is unwanted behavior and unwanted sexual advances," Knapp told a group of about 50 juniors and seniors during the school's Speakers Day.

Even though harassment occurs at college, in the workplace and at bars, it lurks in school hallways, too, she said.

Some girls won't mind when a boy pats them on the rear, Knapp said. Others may react with anger, guilt or depression.

"It is about how the other person feels," Knapp said. "It is words. It is actions."

Knapp had students work through scenarios to prove her points. …