After BUSD officials allegedly refused to let federal investigators interview students about sexual harassment claims at Berkeley High, students plastered posters in campus hallways last month stating, “You are being silenced,” and “Your civil rights are being violated right now.”
Amid a federal investigation on whether Berkeley High School inadequately responded to sexual harassment claims, the Berkeley School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to pass a new, interim sexual harassment policy.
The federal Office for Civil Rights has launched an investigation into whether the Berkeley Unified School District inadequately responded to sexual harassment claims at Berkeley High School, thereby creating a “hostile environment on the basis of sex.”
Earlier this year, some male students at Berkeley High School created “slut accounts” on Instagram. The accounts included photos of female students with misogynistic, sexual captions. A number of the instigators were suspended as a result. However, a group of students who have launched an anti-sexual harassment campaign on campus say the punishment doesn’t help curb the culture that set the stage for the incident in the first place.
On the evening of Nov. 12 we sent an invitation to each member of the Berkeley School Board and to members of the leadership team of the Superintendent’s office at the Berkeley Unified School District, asking them to support a fundraising initiative for a student-led organization called #BHSstopharassing.
Sofie Karasek, a junior at Cal, was assaulted during her freshman year. Her experience inspired her to study the history of sexual violence at UC Berkeley and to express her views in the video, below, which was produced by Youth Radio. Karasek recently testified before the state legislature about the university’s sexual harassment and sexual assault policies. (more…)
By Anika Anand, California Watch
The Berkeley School district says there were inaccuracies in an article by Anika Anand and Emily Hartley of California Watch which set out to uncover the cost to BUSD of a sexual harassment case at Berkeley High.
By Anika Anand and Emily Hartley
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) has issued Berkeley High School counselor Anthony Smith with a seven-day suspension notice, after a former student took a sexual harassment complaint to the Commission last year.
The Berkeley School Board last night voted to approve a settlement in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against the Berkeley Unified School District, which includes compensation of $57,500 and conditions imposed on Anthony Smith, the Berkeley High counselor at the center of the case. BUSD has also committed to revising its training and policies on sexual harassment as part of the settlement. BUSD denies any liability in this case.
Update, 4:40 pm: In a release issued at 4:16 pm, BUSD Superintendent Bill Huyett states: “As a school district, we take this kind of allegation very seriously. We do a thorough investigation in all cases, and we take the appropriate action when it is warranted, and furthermore, the school district does not admit to any wrongdoing in this case.” The statement also confirms Berkeleyside’s reporting that the case has not yet been settled.