The Harbinger reports on school response to reports of sexual assualt and harrasment

ARHS "Community strives to support, educate students"

Algonquin’s school newspaper, The Harbinger, reported* on the administration’s efforts to address issues of sexual harassment and assault “through a combination of support systems and consent-positive curricula.”

The story included news that results from a student survey the paper conducted in December 2022 was “just as concerning” as answers three years prior. 17% of the 170 respondents said they have experienced sexual assault. (The 2019 survey found 15% of 263 students answered yes.)

In 2022, 54% of female respondents said they experienced sexual harassment. And “10% of respondents said they had experienced sexual harassment, assault or abuse while at school.”

The paper reports:

According to Principal Sean Bevan, although student reports are infrequent, any alleged incident of sexual harassment or assault brought to administration immediately becomes the top priority. In the case of a report, Bevan promptly involves the Title IX Coordinator, local law enforcement and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF), as it would constitute a form of abuse.

“It’s the kind of thing that when it comes to our attention, we drop everything,” Bevan said.

The story shares some students’ experiences and covers the school’s attempts to better educate students on the issues. You can read the full article here.

Also worth noting, in January 2021 the Regional School Committee adopted new policies related to sexual harassment — Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and a Civil Rights Non-Discrimination Policy that includes additional language on sexual harassment for issues that fall outside of Title IX.

*[Editor’s Note: Full disclosure, I’m the mother of the article’s author.]

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