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Preventing Gender-Based Violence in K-12 Schools

Transforming public schools into spaces that nurture courageous girls

Gender-based violence and sexual harassment is a widespread problem in K-12 schools throughout the country: 8 in 10 students report having been sexually harassed at school at least once.  And Black girls and other girls of color experience these forms of violence in schools at much higher rates than their peers. In school and out of school, Black girls are more likely to report experiencing sexual harassment than any other group:

 

  • 67% of Black girls reported having been “touched, grabbed, or pinched in a sexual way” by someone in school;

  • 50% of Black girls reported someone in school pulled at their clothing in a sexual way; and

  • 28% of Black girls reported being forced to kiss someone.

 

Black girls also report being sexually harassed on their commute to and from school more often than other students.

 

These experiences create a school environment in nearly every public school that puts Black girls and other girls of color at risk of being pushed out of school: Students who report being sexually harassed in school also report difficulty paying attention in class, lower participation, and are more likely to stop attending school altogether due to fears and anxiety about their safety. When policies and practices fail to acknowledge and center the needs of Black girls, it put our girls at risk of disengaging from school and increasing their involvement in risky activities and contact with the juvenile legal system.

Our Work

Resources

Title IX for Girls of Color
How Schools Can Improve Strategies to Protect Students Against Gender-Based Violence

To learn more about this work or how NBWJI can provide assistance and support to address gender-based violence in your school or school district, contact Sydney McKinney smckinnney@nbwji.org.

As part of our approach in this work and all of our work, we center the experiences and needs of Black girls. To address gender-based violence and sexual harassment in schools, especially for Black girls, and to begin transforming schools into safer, nurturing places for Black girls, we provide the following: 

  • We conduct organizational/district assessments of existing school system policies and practices and identify strategies to support the district’s efforts to keep all youth—especially Black girls and other girls of color—safe from gender-based violence in school.

  • We develop and help schools implement new policies, practices, and programs that transform middle and high schools into spaces where all girls have the courage and feel safe to report gender-based violence and have access to services to help them heal. 

  • We provide consultation, assessments, and training on data monitoring to help ensure improvement over the long term.

  • We train staff on implicit bias, intersectionality, what constitutes teen dating violence and gender-based violence and how it shows up in schools, and the drivers and consequences of school pushout for Black girls.