Students lead discussion about protocol reform


Andrea Secchi

Students walked out of school on Feb. 4 in support of changes to health curriculum.

Three years ago, when current juniors were freshman,  photo sharing investigation occurred. The Dropbox was a website where nude photos of students were stored on a file sharing site.The incident has sat dormant for the past few years and now conversation accompanied by frustration has boiled up again. With graffiti on the walls of the girls bathroom suggesting student concern about how issues are handled, a conversation between students and staff members has begun.

The feminist club has held three meetings surrounding the topic of sexual assault and harassment in which they voiced their main concerns. At these meetings, club president Audrey Lipsey summarized these worries. “We are concerned that the reporting process in our high school isn’t transparent or accessible enough. Because of this students are either too afraid or simply do not know whether (or how) to report their experiences.”

One possible change voiced in the feminist club meetings focused on increasing accessibility for already existing resources.“We want to implement a series of improvements to give students the information that will allow them to safely and willingly come forward if they face any sort of sexual harassment or violence. In turn we want to educate and discourage any further sexual harassment and abuse from happening in our school.”

The members of the feminist club have also formulated a plan to make these things happen. “We did a bunch of research on what the actual reporting process is for students when reporting a sex crime versus harassment. We saw what info was available online and went from there.” Lipsey said, “We want to make information of consent and reporting easily accessible on the school website and we want to have pamphlets given out to all students at the beginning of every year. We want school-appropriate posters and information availability in student handbooks.” Lipsey hopes to implement all of these methods as soon as possible, which may be at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

Other students have also voiced their fears of not being heard. “It’s frustrating. No one is listening.” Hazel Valentine, junior, said “The graffiti is what started to make the admin listen.”

wlhsNOW staff has contacted school administration for in person interviews, such requests were met with administration asking staff reporters to write out and send questions as opposed to holding a traditional interview. As of the time of publication administrators had not responded with any statements.  Stay tuned for more information as coverage of this issue is continued.

UPDATE: Administration submitted a written statement at 3:08 Friday afternoon that was not able to be included. Coverage of the statement can be expected on wlhsNOW.