Over the past few days, many current and former students have come forward by either contacting me personally or posting online, experiences of sexual harassment, assault, and other degrading and wholly unacceptable behavior. Your voices are heard. As we approach the next school year, the Arcadia High School administration will continue to listen and learn. We will engage in dialogue so we can all move forward to be better and to support you.
We will spend the summer creating appropriate training and education to be implemented when school resumes. We want our entire community of staff, parents, and students to stand together, with one voice, that we will not tolerate this. Arcadia High School will proudly take a stand to help end this type of behavior, but this cannot be done in isolation with schools alone. Our parents, peers, staff, ourselves, and community must be a part of the solution we all seek. We must ensure that we create cultures and environments where students feel comfortable reporting any possible harassment or assaults.
I know all too well how commonplace sexual assault and harassment are. I was sexually assaulted in 8th grade and it filled me with shame, guilt, and confusion. It had a tremendous impact on my mental and emotional well-being for years and years. I didn't report or speak up because I feared how others would view me. I feared that my teachers, parents, and peers would look at me differently and blame me, not the aggressor. This led me to engage in a pattern of harmful behavior that took a long time to unlearn. I never want another student to go through this.
Clearly, sexual harassment and sexual assault are pervasive in our society and, unfortunately, schools are not immune to this. We will not stand for this and must act together.
This generation fills me with great hope that they will have the bravery that I didn't have as a student to move us all forward to a more just society. Plans for the coming year
As we look forward to the new school year, we want to make sure we’re providing a safe and inclusive environment. Now more than ever we recognize the importance of addressing not only our students’ academic needs, but also their mental health and wellness needs. With this in mind, we are pleased to be adding a Social and Emotional Wellness Counselor to our team.
The counselor’s focus will be on supporting students and implementing programs that promote social and emotional wellness. One of our schoolwide goals is to create a comprehensive wellness program. We are in the planning stages of this process, and recognize the importance of your feedback. If you and your child could fill out a short survey (see below), we will use your feedback as guidance for the creation of our program. We strongly believe this is a community effort and your insights are invaluable to us.
You can find more information about AUSD mental health resources and explore the AHS counseling website for further information.
Take the survey here: Wellness Survey
ResourcesWe understand these may be difficult and/or sensitive topics to navigate at home. Please take time to review these resources to help guide these conversations at home. Know that we are in this together and are here to support you as well.
Discussing Consent, Sexual Harassment & Misconduct:
- Resources to Guide Discussions About Consent, Sexual Harassment and Misconduct
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest, National Network)
- Talking to Your Kids About Sexual Assault
- About the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline
- Talking to Teens about Social Media and Sexting