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Students Take the Lead to Define and Cultivate Positive School Culture

Student Leaders in Consent

The M.A.P (Misogyny Affected People) Club in The Upper School recently planned a two-part student organized Sexual Harassment Seminar. Part one brought in speaker Carmen Epstein to give a comprehensive presentation on sexual harassment history, awareness and society normalization to all Upper School students. Part two involved student-led workshops to debrief and continue conversations about how to create and continue a school culture that prevents harassment behaviors. We spoke to some of the students who deemed this a necessary topic, so much so, they took the lead and asked faculty for help.

“Paige and I had the idea for a sexual harassment seminar years ago after noticing that many high schoolers’ definitions of consent and sexual harassment were blurred or misconstrued. We had faith that with the right planning, guest speaker, and discussions, we could make AFS a more safe and comfortable environment, especially for women and other highly victimized groups including the queer community, women of color, and those with disabilities. AFS strives to be a community built on respect and trust, and as clerks of M.A.P (Misogyny-Affected People) we feel as though that goal cannot be reached unless we continue to remind ourselves of these values and grow from our mistakes. Paige ’22, Yael ’25, and Katie ’22 brainstormed, outlined, and organized the entire seminar, and we hope that the students and faculty discovered what they needed to hear and that there will be future seminars or lessons like this to further solidify these important values into our community.” – Katy ’22

“Carmen spoke about the history of misogyny, rape culture, consent, and societal normalization among other things. A week later, students chose workshop groups to debrief and engage in further and deeper conversations. These student and faculty led groups were divided into allied affinity and interest based spaces including harassment in the queer community, harassment toward women of color, harassment and disability, harassment in sports, harassment + body image + fashion, harassment and social media, and What Makes a Man (a space to talk about men’s involvement in harassment and how to be an up-stander). One thing that really inspired me was how many people volunteered to help and support these events. From all of the students who led workshops, to faculty members who showed up to spaces and engaged in conversations, to Brendon and Tina helping us with the logistical and coordinating elements, to Katie ’22 and Paige ’22  for starting this initiative and getting me involved, I could not be more grateful for those who have lifted up these difficult conversations.”-Yael ’25

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