Port Lincoln High School tackling sexual harassment reports ‘head-on’


Male and female students at Port Lincoln High School are calling for better leadership at the school following reports of sexual harassment and unwanted touching of senior girl students by some of their male peers.

It comes as women in Australia and the UK have started petitions calling on schools to include clear information around the issue of consent in sexual education classes.

Port Lincoln High School recently called an all-female students meeting following reports of male students directing sexualised comments and behaviour towards senior female students.

Principal Todd George said mental health foundation Headspace was engaged by the school to provide additional support to the students.

“We wanted to give female students this opportunity to get some really good up-to-date information both around the language that can be used in healthy relationships, but also some flagging points around potentially unhealthy relationships, and what can be said to try and support those students,” Mr George said.

A letter sent to parents said the sessions were designed to “give girls the necessary tools to be able to cope with unwanted attention and inappropriate behaviour when engaging with some of our male cohort”.

Mr George said the school would hold meetings with male students next week to address the issues raised by the female students.

a photos of a hand holding a school letter
A letter to parents details how the school is addressing reports of sexual harassment.(

Supplied: School parent.

)

‘She looked shocked and uncomfortable’

A final year Port Lincoln High School student, who did not wish to be named, said he had seen a build-up of bad behaviour since the beginning of his secondary school years, including charged sexualised comments towards, and unwanted touching of, female students.

“I was sitting on the senior floor when a guy from my grade came and sat next to one of the girls that was doing some study work and then proceeded to put his hand on her inner thigh which she didn’t ask for,” he said.

a school sign
A final year student says he’s witnessed unwanted touching of female students.(

ABC News: Evelyn Leckie

)

The student said he had been disappointed with the leadership at the high school.

“I’ve seen quite a number of female students go to these people [some of the staff], asking them for help, but nothing has come out of it — there’s been no change, no repercussions for the guys doing this stuff,” he said.

The student said the school held meetings about the behaviour reported, but he remained disappointed with the views of some of the staff.

A man ina  white shirt and brown tie speaks into a hand-held microphone
Principal Todd George says the school will run meetings with male students next week.(

ABC News: Evelyn Leckie

)

The school’s principal, Mr George, said there were robust structures in place to support reporting of — and responding to — inappropriate behaviour whether it related to students, staff or members of the wider school community.

“This is an issue that our school is confronting head-on.” 

‘Australia-wide issue’

A final year female student, who did not wish to be named, said the problems facing the school were not unique and were part of a broader societal issue.

“Why aren’t we teaching these [male] people that these behaviours are not OK in the first place?

“Every school in Port Lincoln has instances of sexual harassment, every school in Australia.”

Thank you for spending your time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed seeing this story involving National and South Australian News and updates named “Port Lincoln High School tackling sexual harassment reports ‘head-on'”. This news article was presented by MyLocalPages as part of our Australian news services.

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