Bullying and Harassment: A Legal Guide for Educators

By Kathleen Conn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
Sexual or Gender-Based
Harassment of Students

More than 10 years ago, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) conducted its now famous study of sexual harassment in U.S. public schools: Hostile Hallways: The AAUW Survey on Sexual Harassment in America's Schools (1993). The study reported responses from a random sample of 1,632 boys and girls in grades 8–11 from 79 schools, which indicated that a pervasive culture of sexual harassment characterized U.S. secondary schools. Over 80 percent of females and over 70 percent of males responded that they had experienced some form of sexual harassment in school; more than one of every four students indicated that they had experienced sexual harassment [often.]

Although criticized for including behaviors such as rumors, sexual comments, jokes or [looks,] graffiti, and even questions about sexual identity among the descriptors of sexual harassment, the basic conclusions of the AAUW study have not been seriously questioned. In fact, subsequent studies have confirmed its overall findings. In a similar study conducted in Connecticut and released in 1995, even higher percentages of female students and about the same percentages of males reported having experienced sexual harassment in their schools. An update of the AAUW study in 2001 reported that four out of every five students in a nationwide survey

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