The crisis in our schools requires action. The urgent national movement that we’re spearheading can move forward only with the support of well-informed students, families, activists, advocates, educators, lawmakers, school personnel, organizations, journalists, artists, writers, athletes, among others. Collaboration among diverse groups is essential for lasting change.
What You Can Do
The SSAIS Toolkit for change contains a wide range of activities, many that you can implement from home. Our toolkit will continue to grow as you share your activism results. Wondering how to get started? We can help you create an action plan to suit your unique situation.
We have opportunities for:
Interns. SSAIS non-profit offers internships to build your resume and fulfill community service hours.
Externs. We will collaborate with colleges to provide credit for supervised externships and projects.
Non-profit development experts to expand the reach of our organization
Legal faculty, law students, education and public policy graduate students who support education equality K-12+ to become involved by educating and investigating
College students and adults to implement our simple tools to discover whether a school district is Title IX compliant
Fundraising experts to procure the financial support for compelling trainings to be made freely available to all students nationwide, and at a modest cost for school districts.
Visionary benefactors to support trainings
Community and student organizations to promote the work of SSAIS
Merchandise experts to develop fun/educational products that inform students about resources to keep them safe
SSAIS Activism History
From its inception, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools has relied on community and student involvement. In June 2014, the US Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights opened a Title IX federal investigation of the Seattle Public School District in response to our complaint. Immediately after national and local media reported on this investigation, parents and harassed/assaulted students across the country contacted us through our Facebook page. Over 13,000 people followed it after Jezebel.com reported on our case.
Outraged graduates from Garfield High School, which our student attended when assaulted on a class fieldtrip, local education activists, and two local organizations promptly helped us organize small but effective protests. Even after we moved to another state following the assault, we relentlessly organized multiple protests in Seattle. Students, families, and activists called for sexual harassment/assault prevention measures, Title IX education, and student safety. We participated in numerous media interviews in conjunction with these protests.
The protests produced memorable slogans: “No One Accountable” (challenging the district’s motto “Everyone Accountable”), and “District Fosters Sexual Violence” owing to its failure to implement Title IX. One outraged graduate organized a letter writing campaign to the school board. To educate the public, a dedicated alumna meticulously redacted documents that the Seattle school district had unlawfully released with the victim’s identifying information, in violation of FERPA, so they could be posted online on Facebook and Scribd.
Other alumni, like Sylvie Nemeth (whose survey on sexual assault at Garfield High School were quoted in numerous local and national media) and Sam Heft-Luthy, provided incisive commentary to the media.Read More
Third generation Garfield alumna, Monisha Harrell, started a petition to replace Garfield’s principal, while education activists Charles Mas and Melissa Westbrook of Save Seattle Schools fought tirelessly for transparency in numerous online media.
We were further compelled to action when Seattle-based writer Caitlin Sussman, author of a national award-winning essay on rape culture, admonished: “The public needs to speak out and make it clear that neither the institution’s response nor the rape culture that enabled it is acceptable. Because unless we hold the district accountable, we’re all complicit.”
Our work continues to make an impact in Seattle: Seattle Public Schools imposed strict penalties after another fieldtrip sexual assault was reported at the same school. Our work was recently featured in a media report by the University of Washington, where SSAIS plans to test its collaborative projects for college and high school students. Our work has spread across the country as we help families whose students’ Title IX rights have been violated.
We sixty-something parents could have ceased our advocacy after our high profile case settled in October 2014. But we could not. Students and parents across the country urged us to continue because they were also traumatized when their school district denied and ignored sexual harassment and sexual violence. To spare others the nightmare and agony we experienced, we formed the non-profit Stop Sexual Assault in Schools in the spring of 2015, so that the Seattle Public School District could serve as an example to the entire country, never to be replicated.