Facing Lawsuits, NYC Retools Sexual Harassment Policies For Schools

Amid a series of highly publicized sexual assault allegations, the New York City Department of Education is changing the regulations around harassment and bullying. The proposed regulations expand the definition of what constitutes harassment, details how administrators should conduct investigations, and outlines how to support students who come forward.

“Schools are the workplaces of youth,” [Ashley Sawyer, policy director with Girls for Gender Equity] said. “The same way that we see adults making changes in the workplace … we have to see that same type of change happen in New York City Public Schools.”

Students say that’s what they’re fighting for, too.

“I just want everyone to know that we are not just the future, but we are the present,” said student Siara Valetina Alvarenga. She’s also a peer leader with the anti-dating abuse group Day One. “We need to get our voice across. Because when we are violated, when we are uncomfortable, it needs to be heard.”

Read article and listen to the 3-part radio series featuring student voices (about 15 minutes total).

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