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Survey: High school students reported sexual harassment

When you send your teen to high school, you know that there will be some tough times ahead, but you hope your kid is happy and healthy. After all, high school should provide your child with many terrific memories. A recent study performed by a team from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia found that some students -- mainly female -- have been the victim of sexual harassment.

The study was given to almost 69,000 students, from freshmen to seniors, and to 14,619 staff members and teachers. The survey was completed anonymously online.

Most of the adults who were surveys believed that teachers work well with each other. However, one area of concern for teachers was the effectiveness and consistency of discipline. Many schools would like to get away from using suspension so frequently, but are in need of other alternatives.

The students' survey was a bit more telling. Thirty-six percent of high school students said bullying was a problem. Six percent reported that they have been the victim of bullying at their school.

New questions were asked about sexual harassment. The survey results indicated that 21 percent of female students were victims of unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature and 38 percent heard or saw sexual comments, gestures or jokes that made them uncomfortable.

The United States Department of Education recently released data showing that 65 percent of Virginia school districts reported no sexual harassment incidents. That data is not in line with the UVA survey. According to the American Association of Women, who reviewed the data, the number discrepancy is likely due to students failing to report sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is not something that only occurs on a job. Our students can also be victims. When this occurs, you and your child may have a legal course of action. An attorney can explain your legal options.

Source: UVA Today, "Survey: VA High Schoolers Feel Supported, but Report Bullying and Sexual Harassment," Audrey Breen, accessed Aug. 23, 2016

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