- Your cousin wants to drop out of school because she doesn’t feel safe walking down the hallway or riding the bus, where kids constantly yell names like “slut” and “whore” and throw objects at her head.
- Your daughter gets sent to an alternative school for “drug use” after taking Motrin to relieve menstrual cramps.
- Your sister is told to decide between getting paddled or suspended because her prom dress was too short.
Unfortunately, some people don’t have to imagine these situations because they have lived through them.
As we mark the 39th year of Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, it’s important not to forget the many challenges that remain. Right now, the Senate is working on major school reform legislation and we expect to see a bill introduced this summer. Tell your Senators that this bill must include measures to improve school climate.
Many girls, particularly girls of color, are affected by disproportionate punishments for minor infractions at school. Addressing unfair and excessive discipline is only one side of creating a positive and safe learning environment. It also is important for schools to prevent and respond to bullying and harassment. For students, dangerous practices such as bullying, harassment and excessive discipline policies can result in the decline in academic performance, skipping school and ultimately dropping out.
We can’t begin to improve graduation rates or close achievement gaps if schools lack healthy and safe learning environments. Tell your Senators today that any broad school reform legislation must include measures that improve school climate.