Media Inquiries

April 26, 2017

Sexual harassment and violence occur at alarming rates in K-12 schools but are grossly underreported by students who fear retaliation, blame, and a loss of privacy. To ensure that students receive the necessary confidential services to resume their education, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) has today released a new free educational video Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! Part 2.

In Part 1, high school students learn about their rights under Title IX by interviewing nationally known education, legal, and LGBT experts. In Part 2, students learn about the services of a victim’s advocate, confidentiality, and mandated reporting as they watch a high school survivor speak with Jessica Mindlin, an attorney at Victim Rights Law Center.

“With increasing concerns over Title IX compliance and enforcement in the Trump administration, it’s imperative that students, families, and communities are armed with the tools to ensure that students’ civil rights are enforced,” says SSAIS Executive Director and co-founder, Esther Warkov. “Victim’s advocates and SARTs (sexual assault response teams) can be powerful advocates for students’ Title IX rights.”

In the respected education journal EdSource, reporter Jane Adams notes that Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! “informs students that they have a legal right to attend a school where nobody is harassed because of their gender.” She quotes several San Francisco Bay area students who express fears about the recent uptick in sexual harassment and gender bias in their schools since the November election.

Released just four months ago, Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! is now a featured resource on websites such as National Women’s Law Center, Equal Rights Advocates, Futures Without Violence, Girls Inc., National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the San Francisco Unified School District, among others. The comprehensive resource includes an Action Guide that can be immediately implemented by K-12 families and their communities to ensure Title IX compliance.

SSAIS has received national recognition in the Washington Post and other media for spearheading the movement to address sexual assault in K-12 schools, the breeding ground for college sexual violence. The nonprofit was formed by two parent educators who brought a US Department of Education investigation to the Seattle School District after their child reported being raped on a school field trip.


February 6, 2017

In a chilling account, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday on an alleged rape of a high school senior and subsequent mishandling of her case by school officials in a wealthy Bay Area district. The front-page story, Wild parties, an alleged rape, and a high school’s troubling response draws upon the expertise of the national nonprofit Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS).

In the article, SSAIS executive director, Esther Warkov, points out that while the public is more aware of how colleges fail to respond appropriately to campus sexual violence, few realize that the issue is equally prevalent in elementary and secondary schools. “There is an awareness that the problem exists in college, but the public still has not grasped that there’s an epidemic of sexual harassment and assault in K-12 schools. The school environment is the student’s entire world at that point in their life, and when you disrupt that, it can be devastating.”

The Chronicle report also cites Equal Rights Advocates attorney Rebecca Peterson-Fisher, one of several Title IX experts featured in the SSAIS educational video “Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!” This free video and companion materials help K-12 parents, middle and high school students, schools, and community organizations understand gender equality in education, students’ protections under Title IX, and practical steps families can take to make their schools safe places to learn.

The respected education journal EdSource notes that the video “informs students that they have a legal right to attend a school where nobody is harassed because of their gender.” Reporter Jane Adams quotes several San Francisco Bay area students who express fears about the recent uptick in sexual harassment and gender bias in their schools after the November election.

SSAIS advisory board member, attorney Karen Truszkowski, also contributed her expertise to the Chronicle article. She debunks the Los Altos School District’s claim that no investigation was necessary to determine if there were retaliation against the alleged rape victim.

SSAIS has received national recognition in the Washington Post and other media for spearheading the movement to address sexual assault in K-12 schools, the breeding ground for college sexual violence.


December 5, 2016

Since election day, K-12 schools have seen a shocking increase in incidents of bias and sexual harassment, with fear and anxiety now permeating schools across the country. Today, EdSource reports on the timely release of the free video Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!

It’s the first comprehensive resource for the K-12 audience that informs students and families about sex discrimination, sexual harassment, students’ protections under Title IX, and practical steps communities can take to ensure that their schools provide safe and equal learning opportunities. Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! is now available online together with companion materials.

EdSource journalist Jane Adams says that the video created by the national nonprofit Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) “informs students that they have a legal right to attend a school where nobody is harassed because of their gender.” The article quotes several San Francisco Bay area students who express fears about the recent uptick in sexual harassment and gender bias in their schools.

Ms. Adams also cites SSAIS executive director Esther Warkov, who explains that the video emphasizes “how detrimental sexual harassment is to students and why schools must take complaints seriously and compassionately.”

Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! integrates urgently needed information into a single, student-centered presentation. It follows a group of high school students as they plan a gender equality club, interviewing nationally known education, legal, and LGBT experts. The students observe a Title IX coordinator properly address a parent’s complaint, and learn how a community-based crisis center offers confidential help to a student survivor. They listen to teen and adult advocates and then brainstorm engaging activities they can use to build awareness of Title IX protections and create safe and equitable learning places for all.

SSAIS is asking media, individuals, and organizations to get the word out immediately about Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! so students, parents, and schools can use the video and action guide to begin building healthy learning climates in their communities.

Sonia Pressman Fuentes, attorney and co-founder of the National Organization of Women, explains that “two of the critical areas in gender discrimination today are sexual harassment and sexual assault. Most of the attention has, however, been focused on college and university campuses. SSAIS is performing a vital service in fighting sexual harassment and assault in an otherwise forgotten area: K-12. Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!, using experts and student activists, sets forth the applicable law in this area and suggests ways in which families, students, school administrators, faculty, and the community can fight this scourge in grades K-12.”

SSAIS has received national recognition in the Washington Post and other media for spearheading the movement to address sexual assault in K-12 schools, the breeding ground for college sexual violence. The nonprofit was formed by two parent educators who brought a US Department of Education investigation to the Seattle School District after their child reported being raped on a school field trip. Read two pre-launch reports on Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! in the Portland Tribune and Huffington Post.

shnios-crew

Meet some of the experts and students in Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!


October 11, 2016

Sexual violence occurs in K-12 schools at alarming rates, bleeding into the lives of our children, co-workers, and friends. Yet no comprehensive educational effort addresses this issue for K-12 students and families–until now.

Today, the Portland Tribune reports on the imminent release of an innovative free education video Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! created by the national nonprofit Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org).

Filmed in ten locations across the country, this unique program informs K-12 students and families about sexual harassment, sex discrimination, protections under Title IX, and much more. It features nationally recognized legal, education, and LGBTQ experts, counselors, victims’ advocates, parents, survivors, and teen activists in engaging dramatized scenarios.

It’s the first educational resource for the K-12 audience that integrates this vitally needed information in a single, comprehensive, and student-centered presentation.

As the video opens, a high school gender equity club plans ways to address sex discrimination in their school. The students watch and interview nationally recognized legal, education, and LGBTQ experts to explore these questions:

  • Where does sex discrimination come from and why should students address it? (Professor and Activist Caroline Heldman, Occidental College)
  • What is Title IX and why should students know about it? (Neena Chaudhry, National Women’s Law Center)
  • What are LGBTQ rights under Title IX? (Rebecca Peterson-Fisher, Equal Rights Advocates)
  • How does the school Title IX coordinator answer a parent’s complaint about the sexual harassment her children experience at school? (Keasara Williams, Title IX coordinator, San Francisco Unified School District)
  • What recourses do students have when schools mishandle reported sexual harassment/violence? (Adele Kimmel, Public Justice)
  • How can community sexual assault resource organizations help students? (Cheryl Ann Graf, ARNP, SANE/SART educator)

The video weaves expert insights with survivor testimonials, provides models for student activism, and offers advice for parents on ensuring that their schools are safe and equitable places to learn.

It also includes companion materials for group presentations and discussion. These materials introduce practical student and parent-led activities to build awareness of Title IX protections, and stimulate community involvement in addressing sex discrimination in local schools.The video can be easily facilitated in group settings or viewed online.

Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! is scheduled for national distribution later this month. SSAIS invites you to participate in the promotion and rollout of this game-changing education program.

Contact SSAIS to obtain the latest pre-release information.

shnios-crew

Meet some of the experts and students in Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School!


May 15, 2016

SSAIS Newsletter

First Six Months Make Immediate National Impact

In its first six months, Stop Sexual Assault in School (SSAIS.org) has spearheaded the movement to address the epidemic of K-12 sexual violence. SSAIS’s efforts quickly reached the front page of the Washington Post, numerous media, and families in dire need of support for their students’ rights. From bringing U.S. Department of Education Title IX investigations to school districts, to advising the White House on K-12 sexual violence, to attracting multi-generational engagement with its mission, SSAIS has demonstrated that the roots of college sexual violence lie unchecked in the K-12 breeding ground.

Highlights

  • Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) met with White House staff from the Office of the Vice President to discuss how the Obama administration might best address K-12 sexual violence.
  • SSAIS received a funding award from the American Association of University Women to develop an innovative education program for students about the right to an education free from sexual harassment and gender based discrimination.
  • SSAIS continues to spotlight The Northeast School Corporation, IN, for its response to reported rapes that earned it a U.S. Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigation. SSAIS brought this egregious case (among others) to the attention of the media to raise awareness.
  • SSAIS continues to assist families bringing U.S. Dept. of Education complaints and investigations to school districts in WA, TX, GA, MI, IN, VA, AZ, and OR.
  • SSAIS Board Chair Jules Irvin-Rooney participated in an important panel discussion alongside “The Godmother of Title IX,” Dr. Bernice Sandler.
  • Activists and advocates spanning three generations have found a voice with SSAIS. One remarkable teen survivor expresses gratitude for the opportunity to join SSAIS. Watch videos and PSAs created especially for SSAIS.

faces of ssais

The Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) website offers a unique one-stop resource for students, families, and school administrators to educate students about their Title IX right to an education free from sexual harassment and violence. It identifies resources for survivors, makes the reporting process simple, provides sample complaints, and empowers through its engaging toolkit programs. SSAIS was founded by two educators, Drs. Esther Warkov and Joel Levin, who sought accountability from the Seattle Public School District for its failure to respond adequately after their daughter reported being raped on a field trip.


May 5, 2016
PORTLAND, OR

Contact: Esther Warkov, Ph.D, Executive Director
esther@stopsexualassaultinschools.org

Joel Levin, Ph.D, Director of Programs
joel@stopsexualassaultinschools.org

SSAIS.org @ssaisorg Facebook

Innovative Program Addressing K-12 Sexual Violence Gains National Support

Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) has been awarded funding to address rampant gender-based discrimination and sexual violence in our nation’s schools.

The innovative SSAIS education program is designed to provide an engaging, practical, and replicable approach to informing students about the impact of gender-based discrimination and their protections under Title IX. SSAIS will distribute the free program online and also make available companion materials for facilitators to provide community outreach. The program also contains guidelines and best practices for Title IX ambassadors to disseminate this essential information.

There are currently few, if any, opportunities for students and families to learn about Title IX and engage with school Title IX coordinators, who are tasked with implementing gender equity policies. An important goal of this initiative is to increase students’ awareness and understanding of how the pernicious effects of gender-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, undermine equal educational opportunity as mandated by federal law.

In March, SSAIS participated in a White House discussion with senior staff from the Office of the Vice President. They sought advice from SSAIS on how to illuminate and address sexual assault in K-12 schools. The SSAIS project is an important component of the solution.

SSAIS acknowledges the following participants in the project: The National Women’s Law Center, Girls Inc., AAUW (Portland, OR), Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (Richmond), Safe Harbor (Richmond, VA), and the National Organization of Women (Charlottesville, VA).

Jules Irvin-Rooney, JD, SSAIS Board Chair and President of Title IX and Clery Act Consulting, will supervise the project. Participating SSAIS advisory board members include Jeffrey Caffee, attorney; Liz Hume, attorney and Senior Director of Programs and Strategy Alliance for Peacebuilding; and Cheryl Ann Graf, ARNP, MSN, MBA. Dr. Esther Warkov will serve as the Project Director for the AAUW award.


March 22, 2016
PORTLAND, OR
Contact: Esther Warkov, Ph.D, Executive Director
esther@stopsexualassaultinschools.org
Joel Levin, Ph.D, Director of Programs
joel@stopsexualassaultinschools.org

SSAIS.org @ssaisorg Facebook

SSAIS spotlights federal investigation of rapes in Indiana school and confers with White House

On Friday, March 18, Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) met with White House staff from the Office of the Vice President to discuss how the Obama administration might best address K-12 sexual violence. The VP’s office has championed the cause of addressing sexual violence at colleges and universities, and now wants to bring the same focus to the K-12 level. The VP’s Office applauded SSAIS for its extensive hands-on work supporting K-12 survivors and their families nationwide. It also requested that SSAIS contribute to national education efforts and provide case studies that help document the impact of K-12 sexual violence on students. Joining SSAIS were representatives from the National Women’s Law Center, American Association of University Women, and Girls Inc.

To raise awareness of the epidemic of K-12 sexual violence, SSAIS is casting a spotlight on The Northeast School Corporation (NESC) in Hymera, IN for its response to reported rapes that earned it a U.S. Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigation. SSAIS brought this case to the attention of The Huffington Post, which published a cursory report about this deplorable situation.

“The Northeast School Corporation case merits further media investigation so families understand the lengths school districts will go to silence reports of sexual violence, and why Indiana students are especially at risk,” SSAIS said. According to a recent study, Indiana high schools have the second highest rate of forced sexual intercourse in the nation. “Without intervention by a national organization like SSAIS and media reports, nothing will change,” says Leslie Hawker, the victim’s grandmother who filed the OCR complaint.

The Indiana case warrants a thorough examination because it reveals how school districts foster a culture of sexual violence by enabling male students to engage in repeated sexual assaults. With the cooperation of the victim’s family, SSAIS created a special Facebook page and has collected case documents that include the family’s correspondence with OCR, the school, and SSAIS. These communications detail how the school’s failure to respond appropriately has led to suicide attempts and unhinged the victims’ families. When SSAIS questioned NESC superintendent Dr. Mark Baker about the district’s handling of the reported sexual violence in accordance with Title IX, Dr. Baker appeared poorly informed about both students’ risks and federal law. In a message to Dr. Baker, SSAIS admonished the superintendent to protect all students in accordance with Title IX.

In other reporting, Katie Baker referenced SSAIS resources in her Buzzfeed article Sent Home From Middle School After Reporting A Rape, which describes the struggles of a Brooklyn, NY family due to a school’s ignorance of its Title IX responsibilities.

Middle and high schools have become an unchecked breeding ground for college campus assault. Title IX violations also occur in elementary schools. SSAIS Advisory Board member, attorney Jeffrey Caffee, recently filed a pro bono Title IX complaint against the Oregon Trail School District on behalf of a 5-year-old. OCR has now opened an investigation of this district. SSAIS has assisted bringing several U.S. Dept. of Education complaints and investigations to school districts in WA, TX, GA, MI, IN, AZ, VA, and OR.

The Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) website offers a unique one-stop resource for students, families, and school administrators to educate students about their Title IX right to an education free from sexual harassment and violence. It identifies resources for survivors, makes the reporting process simple, provides sample complaints, and empowers through its engaging toolkit programs. SSAIS was founded by two educators, Drs. Esther Warkov and Joel Levin, who sought accountability from the Seattle Public School District for its failure to respond adequately after their daughter reported being raped on a field trip. Their work was recently featured on the front page of The Washington Post.


January 18, 2016
PORTLAND, OR
Contact: Esther Warkov, Ph.D, Executive Director esther@stopsexualassaultinschools.org
Joel Levin, Ph.D, Director of Programs
joel@stopsexualassaultinschools.org

SSAIS.org  @ssaisorg   Facebook

The Washington Post today exposed the growing magnitude of sexual violence in K-12 schools, its impact on the lives of survivors and families, and how Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) is spearheading a national movement to address this epidemic. In Sexual violence isn’t just a college problem. It happens in K-12 schools,too. National Education Reporter Emma Brown discusses the groundbreaking work of SSAIS, including a comprehensive education initiative to inform students about their Title IX rights and schools about their federally mandated responsibilities. In a related article, Emma Brown portrays one of the families that benefited from SSAIS’s direct education that led to a federal investigation of their Michigan school district.

“K-12 schools are deficient in addressing issues of sexual violence because the issue has been framed as an adult problem. Most K-12 schools have failed to developed best practices for sexual violence prevention or establish professional support and adjudication systems. This means that most survivors do not report their experiences, and on the rare occasion they do, schools generally do not provide the support they need. Most survivors of sexual violence in K-12 schools suffer in silence,” said Dr. Caroline Heldman, Professor of Politics at Occidental College.

Today’s Washington Post report illustrates how SSAIS is “putting school districts everywhere on notice: drop the ball when a student reports a sexual assault, and we’ll expose it to the world,” as senior reporter Tyler Kingkade wrote in The Huffington Post profile of the national nonprofit. Last week, SSAIS announced the opening of a U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Title IX investigation of the Northeast School Corporation, Indiana, on behalf of the family whose student reported multiple rapes. SSAIS has already participated in several OCR complaints, including WA, TX, GA, MI, IN, AZ, and OR (on behalf of a five-year-old). SSAIS continues to extend its reach in the media while developing its comprehensive program to end sexual violence in K-12 schools.

Sexual violence and harassment, homophobic name-calling, and unwanted sexual touching are now recognized as public health concerns for adolescents according to the CDC, 2012. In her inaugural post for the SSAIS website, National Women’s Law Center Senior VP of Program Fatima Goss Graves wrote, “Moreover, if we do not bring a serious focus to the problem of sexual harassment and assault in elementary and secondary schools, it will be nearly impossible to make real progress at any other level of education. Too often the story of sexual violence in K-12 schools shows administrators who are poorly informed about their Title IX obligations or avoid taking the necessary steps required by Title IX to end and prevent future harassment.” The NWLC described itself “energized by a new group doing big work–Stop Sexual Assault in Schools.”

The Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) website offers a unique one-stop resource for students, families, and school administrators to educate students about their Title IX right to an education free from sexual harassment and violence. It identifies resources for survivors, makes the reporting process simple, provides sample complaints, and empowers through its engaging toolkit programs. SSAIS was founded by two educators, Drs. Esther Warkov and Joel Levin, who sought accountability from the Seattle Pubic School District for its failure to respond adequately after a student reported being raped on a field trip.


January 14, 2016
PORTLAND, OR
Contact: Esther Warkov, Ph.D, Executive Director esther@stopsexualassaultinschools.org
Joel Levin, Ph.D, Director of Programs
joel@stopsexualassaultinschools.org

SSAIS.org  @ssaisorg   Facebook

Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org nonprofit) announces the opening of a U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Title IX investigation of the Northeast School Corporation, Indiana, for violating a student’s rights after she reported being raped by two students. It is the 64th school district under OCR investigation.

SSAIS is providing information on behalf of the family who filed the complaint. According to SSAIS Executive Director, Dr. Esther Warkov, “The family’s complaint illustrates the widespread harm caused by school districts ignorant of their Title IX responsibilities. According to documentation and a statement provided by the family, the OCR complaint involves sexual assailants over several years and the districts’ alleged indifference towards the victims.”

“Title IX compliance is essential for the protection of youth in K-12 schools. Lack of adherence to these standards creates unsafe and potentially harmful environments for our children. The family of the survivor in this case filed an OCR complaint and provided a statement related to her sexual assault and subsequent harassment. Though OCR remains a neutral fact-finder, it is important to acknowledge that the lack of support provided by school districts creates dangerous environments for other potential victims and has a silencing effect on those seeking to speak out about their own assaults. I applaud the victim and her family for their courage and willingness to speak out,” said University of Washington Professor of Criminal Justice Alissa Ackerman.

In a recent Huffington Post profile of the SSAIS nonprofit “Activists Take Aim At High Schools For Mishandling Sexual Assault” senior reporter Tyler Kingkade says SSAIS is “putting school districts everywhere on notice: drop the ball when a student reports a sexual assault, and we’ll expose it to the world.” SSAIS has already participated in several OCR complaints, including WA, TX, GA, MI, and OR (on behalf of a five-year-old).  “The fear of liability and concerns about public opinion cause schools to downplay, ignore, or deny altogether reports of sexual harassment/assault and subsequent retaliation against survivors,” said Dr. Joel Levin, SSAIS Co-Founder and Director of Programs.

Sexual violence and harassment, homophobic name-calling, and unwanted sexual touching are now recognized as public health concerns for adolescents according to the CDC, 2012. In her inaugural post for the SSAIS website, National Women’s Law Center Senior VP of Program Fatima Goss Graves wrote, “Moreover, if we do not bring a serious focus to the problem of sexual harassment and assault in elementary and secondary schools, it will be nearly impossible to make real progress at any other level of education. Too often the story of sexual violence in K-12 schools shows administrators who are poorly informed about their Title IX obligations or avoid taking the necessary steps required by Title IX to end and prevent future harassment.” The NWLC described itself “energized by a new group doing big work–Stop Sexual Assault in Schools.”

Feminist Majority Foundation’s Education Equity Director Dr. Sue Klein believes one of the most effective strategies to combat sexual discrimination in education is to reinvigorate the role of the Title IX Coordinator, noting that “SSAIS has created a simple procedure that prompts students, families, educators, and community stakeholders to engage school districts to become Title IX compliant.”

In her recent article, “As the Mother of a Rape Victim I Know Consent Education Is Not Enough” published in The Huffington Post, Dr. Warkov explains why Title IX education is far more efficacious than consent education. She reiterates the need for Title IX education in an article appearing in the December 7th edition of Women’s eNews, “Lawmakers Shift Campus Rape Conversation to High Schools,” and challenges celebrities to be forthcoming about the origins of campus assault in “Why Lady Gaga Should Be Talking to a Rape Victim’s Mother About K-12 Sexual Assault.”

The Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) website offers a unique one-stop resource for students, families, and school administrators to educate students about their Title IX right to an education free from sexual harassment and violence. It identifies resources for survivors, makes the reporting process simple, provides sample complaints, and empowers through its engaging toolkit programs.

SSAIS was founded by two educators, Drs. Esther Warkov and Joel Levin, who sought accountability from the Seattle Pubic School District for its failure to respond adequately after a student reported being raped on a field trip. The launch of its website followed on the heels of a U.S. Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Title IX investigation SSAIS brought to the Seattle Public School District for violating the victim’s rights. The outpouring of national support compelled SSAIS to spearhead a movement to combat the epidemic of sexual harassment and violence in K-12 schools.


January 1, 2016

PORTLAND, OR
Contact:
Esther Warkov, Ph.D, Executive Director: esther@stopsexualassaultinschools.org
Joel Levin, Ph.D, Director of Programs: joel@stopsexualassaultinschools.org
SSAIS.org   @ssaisorg   Facebook

New Website Provides Resources on Sexual Assault in Schools and Education Equality

Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) recently announced the launch of its unique website that provides a practical, one-stop resource for students, families, and school administrators. The SSAIS website educates students about their Title IX right to an education free from sexual harassment and violence, identifies resources for survivors, makes the reporting process simple, provides sample complaints, and empowers through its engaging toolkit programs.

Sexual violence and harassment, homophobic name-calling, and unwanted sexual touching are now recognized as public health concerns for adolescents according to the CDC, 2012. In her inaugural post for the SSAIS website, National Women’s Law Center Senior VP of Program Fatima Goss Graves wrote, “Moreover, if we do not bring a serious focus to the problem of sexual harassment and assault in elementary and secondary schools, it will be nearly impossible to make real progress at any other level of education. Too often the story of sexual violence in K-12 schools shows administrators who are poorly informed about their Title IX obligations or avoid taking the necessary steps required by Title IX to end and prevent future harassment.” The NWLC described itself “energized by a new group doing big work–Stop Sexual Assault in Schools.”

In a recent Huffington Post profile of the new SSAIS nonprofit “Activists Take Aim At High Schools For Mishandling Sexual Assault” senior reporter Tyler Kingkade says SSAIS activism efforts are “putting school districts everywhere on notice: drop the ball when a student reports a sexual assault, and we’ll expose it to the world.” SSAIS has already assisted with several OCR complaints, most recently in IN, TX, GA, MI, and OR (on behalf of a five-year-old). “The fear of liability and concerns about public opinion cause schools to downplay, ignore, or deny altogether reports of sexual harassment/assault and subsequent retaliation against survivors. School districts are harming the very students they are mandated to serve,“ said SSAIS Executive Director, Dr. Esther Warkov. In her recent article, “As the Mother of a Rape Victim I Know Consent Education Is Not Enough” published in the Huffington Post, she explains why Title IX education is far more efficacious than consent education. She reiterates the need for Title IX education in an article appearing in the December 7th edition of Women’s eNews, “Lawmakers Shift Campus Rape Conversation to High Schools,” and challenges celebrities to be forthcoming about the origins of campus assault in “Why Lady Gaga Should Be Talking to a Rape Victim’s Mother About K-12 Sexual Assault.”

Feminist Majority Foundation’s Education Equity Director Dr. Sue Klein believes one of the most effective strategies to combat sexual discrimination in education is to reinvigorate the role of the Title IX Coordinator, noting that “SSAIS has created a simple procedure that prompts students, families, educators, and community stakeholders to engage school districts to become Title IX compliant.”

SSAIS was founded by two educators, Drs. Esther Warkov and Joel Levin, who sought accountability from the Seattle Pubic School District for its failure to respond adequately after a student reported being raped on a field trip. The launch of its website follows on the heels of a U.S. Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Title IX investigation SSAIS brought to the Seattle Public School District for violating the victim’s rights. The outpouring of national support compelled SSAIS to spearhead a movement to combat the epidemic of sexual harassment and violence in K-12 schools. SSAIS leadership includes nationally known activist advocates.

SSAIS’s inclusive approach also addresses male survivors of sexual harassment and violence, LGBTQ+ youth, and sexual assault hazing. SSAIS connects organizations, individuals, advocates, and diverse communities across the nation for a united campaign against the scourge of sexual harassment and violence impacting our nation’s students.


October 27, 2015
PORTLAND, OR
Contact:
Esther Warkov, Ph.D, Executive Director esther@stopsexualassaultinschools.org
Joel Levin, Ph.D, Director of Programs  joel@stopsexualassaultinschools.org
SSAIS.org  @ssaisorg   Facebook

Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org nonprofit) announces the opening of a U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Title IX investigation of The Warren Consolidated School District for reported sexual violence. SSAIS assisted the victim’s family filing the OCR complaint. Its Board Chair, Jules Irvin-Rooney, J.D., through Title IX and Clery Act Consulting, acted as an advocate on behalf of the student’s rights after the reported sexual assault. Ms. Irvin-Rooney asserted that this case demonstrates how important Title IX legal and advocacy work in the K-12 system is because “as shown in this case, school systems are failing to protect our students and instead are re-victimizing students and negatively impacting their education. This situation appears to have been terribly mishandled by the school.” SSAIS Executive Director, Dr. Esther Warkov, notes that this is not the first time the district has been under scrutiny for sexual assault.

In a recent Huffington Post profile of the new SSAIS nonprofit “Activists Take Aim At High Schools For Mishandling Sexual Assault”  senior reporter Tyler Kingkade says SSAIS activism efforts are “putting school districts everywhere on notice: drop the ball when a student reports a sexual assault, and we’ll expose it to the world.” Earlier this year SSAIS facilitated the opening of an OCR investigation of the Angelton (TX) school district, and more complaints are in progress. The launch of the SSAIS website follows on the heels of a U.S. Dept. of Education, OCR investigation that SSAIS brought to the Seattle Public School District for failing to respond adequately to a reported rape. The outpouring of national support for the complaint compelled SSAIS to spearhead a movement to combat the epidemic of sexual harassment and violence in K-12 schools.

Feminist Majority Foundation’s Education Equity Director Dr. Sue Klein believes one of the most effective strategies to combat sexual discrimination in education is to reinvigorate the role of the Title IX Coordinator, noting that “SSAIS has created a simple procedure that prompts students, families, educators, and community stakeholders to engage school districts to become Title IX compliant.”

Ms. Irvin-Rooney further notes that,  “Allowing all interested parties to be involved in combatting sexual discrimination in education and by hiring strong personnel as a Title IX Coordinator, with no conflicts of interest, is imperative.”

With the awareness of sexual assault in college shifting to K-12, schools are touting consent education as the solution when it fails to address the many safeguards that exist only under Title IX.  At the forefront of gender equality issues, the National Women’s Law Center recently declared itself “energized by a new group doing big work–Stop Sexual Assault in Schools.”  In her inaugural post for the organization, NWLC Senior VP of Program Fatima Goss Graves wrote, “Moreover, if we do not bring a serious focus to the problem of sexual harassment and assault in elementary and secondary schools, it will be nearly impossible to make real progress at any other level of education. Too often the story of sexual violence in K-12 schools shows administrators who are poorly informed about their Title IX obligations or avoid taking the necessary steps required by Title IX to end and prevent future harassment.”

Sexual violence and harassment, homophobic name-calling, and unwanted sexual touching are now recognized as public health concerns for adolescents according to the CDC, 2012.  “Families have no idea how vulnerable their children are to the devastation of sexual harassment and assault in the school environment until it happens. When it does, with alarming frequency, families don’t know where to turn. School administrators are woefully ignorant of their Title IX responsibilities. The fear of liability and concerns about public opinion cause schools to downplay, ignore, or deny altogether reports of sexual harassment/assault and subsequent retaliation against survivors. School districts are harming the very students they are mandated to serve,” said Dr. Joel Levin, Director of SSAIS Programs.

The SSAIS website educates students about their Title IX right to an equal education free from sexual harassment and violence, identifies resources for survivors, makes the reporting process simple, provides sample complaints, and empowers through its engaging toolkit programs. SSAIS’s inclusive approach also addresses male survivors of sexual harassment/violence, LGBTQ+ youth, and sexual assault hazing. SSAIS connects organizations, individuals, advocates, and diverse communities across the nation for a united campaign against the scourge of sexual harassment and violence impacting our nation’s students.


 

October 5, 2015
Contact:
Esther Warkov, Ph.D Executive Director
Joel Levin, Ph.D, Director of Programs
Follow us on Twitter @ssaisorg
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Huffington Post Profiles New Nonprofit Stop Sexual Assault in Schools

The Huffington Post published today a profile of Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS.org) “Activists Take Aim At High Schools For Mishandling Sexual Assault.” The new national nonprofit launched its website last week.

Huff Post senior reporter Tyler Kingkade says SSAIS activism efforts are “putting school districts everywhere on notice: drop the ball when a student reports a sexual assault, and we’ll expose it to the world.”

SSAIS launched its website following a US Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Title IX investigation that it brought to the Seattle Public School District. The outpouring of national support compelled SSAIS to spearhead a movement to combat the epidemic of sexual harassment and violence in K-12 schools.

SSAIS offers K-12+ students experiencing sexual harassment and violence practical resources, trainings, and awareness programs. It also connects individuals, advocates, organizations, and diverse communities across the nation for a united campaign against the scourge of sexual harassment and violence impacting our nation’s students.


Contact
Follow us on Twitter @ssaisorg
Follow us on Facebook
Esther Warkov, Ph.D, Executive Director
Joel Levin, Ph.D, Director of Programs

New Website Provides Resources on Sexual Assault in Schools and Education Equality

Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS) has recently announced the launch of its unique website that provides a practical, one-stop resource for students, families, and school administrators. The SSAIS website educates students about their Title IX right to an education free from sexual harassment and violence, identifies resources for survivors, makes the reporting process simple, provides sample complaints, and empowers through its engaging toolkit programs.

“Families have no idea how vulnerable their children are to the devastation of sexual harassment and assault in the school environment until it happens. When it does, with alarming frequency, families don’t know where to turn. School administrators are woefully ignorant of their Title IX responsibilities,” Dr. Warkov, Executive Director of SSAIS said.

SSAIS is a new national non-profit organization founded by two educators who sought accountability from the Seattle Pubic School District for its failure to respond adequately after a student reported being raped on a field trip. The launch of its website follows on the heels of a US Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Title IX investigation SSAIS brought to the Seattle Public School District for violating the victim’s rights. The outpouring of national support compelled SSAIS to spearhead a movement to combat the epidemic of sexual harassment and violence in K-12 schools.

Sexual violence and harassment, homophobic name-calling, and unwanted sexual touching are now recognized as public health concerns for adolescents according to the CDC, 2012. While the Obama administration is visibly engaged in efforts to address sexual assault in schools, the majority of these measures target higher education institutions. These actions must extend to the 55 million students enrolled nationwide in 132,000 K-12 schools. Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women’s Law Center, states, “But what’s missing in the wave of attention on college campuses is that Title IX’s long-standing mandate applies equally to K-to-12 schools” in the March 2015 National Law Journal op-ed “We Must Deal With K-12 Sexual Assault.”

Although Title IX has been law for over 40 years, OCR reports receiving more sex-discrimination complaints in 2014 than ever. The fear of liability and concerns about public opinion cause schools to downplay, ignore, or deny altogether reports of sexual harassment/assault and subsequent retaliation against survivors. School districts are harming the very students they are mandated to serve.   

SSAIS offers free prevention programs, trainings, and engagement programs for students, families, and organizations anywhere in the US. Its trainings for school districts illustrate how Title IX applies in complex circumstances; as a result school staff will know how respond in compliance with Title IX and cultivate a school culture free of sexual harassment and violence.

SSAIS’s inclusive approach also addresses male survivors of sexual harassment/violence, LGBTQ+ youth, and sexual assault hazing. SSAIS connects organizations, individuals, advocates, and diverse communities across the nation for a united campaign against the scourge of sexual harassment and violence impacting our nation’s students.

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