June 15, 2016
Following a powerful community march led by the FLOC Homies last week, Toledo Public Schools (TPS) will be putting more time and resources into raising awareness about sexual harassment and violence, and ways to keep women safe in their schools.
At the march, Harley Foore, a student at a Toledo public school noted, “Toledo Public Schools do not currently offer any training on sexual harassment or consent. They have nothing in the student handbook that talks about sexual harassment or consent. How is this acceptable?”
Then last week, three women members of the Homies Union, joined by representatives of the YWCA and AAUW, met with TPS Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant to talk about their ideas on the issue. Homies member Billie Zimmerman shared her story of being sexually harassed in elementary school, and being told by her school principal that there was nothing anyone could do about it.
At the meeting, the Homies asked Durant to take several steps, including: conducting trainings every year, as part of the health class curriculum, on sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape, working with the YWCA to create a position for a Prevention Specialist to work full time on addressing the issue district wide, making information available to students on who they can talk to if they are victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape, and including this same information in the student handbook, and posted around the school.
Their powerful voices made a difference, and Superintendent Durant took an important step toward creating a safer environment for women in Toledo schools. Beginning in the fall, Superintendent Durant agreed to work on curriculum to include trainings in health classes, hang posters around the schools, and to work with the YWCA to fund a full-time, district-wide position to work on the prevention of violence against women in public schools.
For more information on the Homies and their work with TPS, contact Peter Meinecke at PMeinecke@floc.com.