KSD has begun sexual abuse training

KSD+announced+plans+Monday%2C+April+12+to+implement+new+sexual+abuse+training+during+students%E2%80%99+homeroom+period+on+Thursday%2C+April+22.

De Lila Green

KSD announced plans Monday, April 12 to implement new sexual abuse training during students’ homeroom period on Thursday, April 22.

KSD announced plans Monday, April 12 to implement new sexual abuse training during students’ homeroom period on Thursday, April 22. The training covered four main topics: the role and power of consent in sexual harassment, stopping sexual harassment, what sexual harassment looks like, and what sexual harassment actually is. Students and staff said this was an important step to help counteract sexual harassment, abuse and consent issues at KSD. The training was completed through Safe Schools, “a leading provider of award-winning safety and compliance solutions that help create safer and more inclusive schools around the world,” according to their mission statement. The program’s sexual abuse course draws from sources such as Diane Cranley, the president and chairman of TAALK (Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids). According to Coronado, Safe Schools provides engaging, prompt-based programs to educate students and faculty. 

[The training] will help immensely. It’s putting an awareness around something that is so important.”

— Cindy Coronado

“It’s a new requirement that students need to be trained in all aspects relating to [sexual abuse],” Coronado said. “It’s super important in this day and age, and I’m happy to see it become a requirement.”

The training was mandated by Missouri State Statute 170.045 for grades 6-12. However, an opt-out option was available for those who did not wish to participate with permission from a parent or guardian. If one chose to not partake in the Safe Schools program, or if they have additional questions and need support, KHS has provided alternative tools. Options include a form to meet with a counselor and a page full of local resources.

Though there was a choice to refrain from the training, students and staff said that Safe Schools can prompt positive changes. Daniel O’Leary, freshman, said it’s an opportunity to address sexual harassment issues at KHS.

“It’s great that [KSD] is doing this. [The program] is needed,” O’Leary said. “I’m glad that it started. I hope that it at least informs and educates more people.” 

It tells you how to empower yourself. [The training teaches] how to troubleshoot–if not for yourself, then for a loved one or friend.”

— Cindy Coronado

O’Leary and other students said the program may help strengthen KHS’s attempt to educate students about sexual harassment and similar issues. Molly Bjorkman, freshman, said previously the conversation surrounding sexual abuse was limited–it began during health class discussions and ended with small, damaged posters about consent in the bathrooms. 

“[The message against sexual harassment] could be shown more [at KHS],” Bjorkman said. “You don’t really hear about it that often unless you’re in health.”

 The Safe Schools program is a chance for KHS to promote a clearer understanding of sexual harassment and prevention. According to Coronado, the goal of the training is to serve as an opportunity for students to learn how to keep themselves and others safe. 

“It tells you how to empower yourself,” said Coronado. “[The training teaches] how to troubleshoot–if not for yourself, then for a loved one or friend.”

Some students have raised concerns regarding those who may treat the program as a joke, instead of a tool. Sarah Lichtenberg, freshman, said while the training can help decrease sexual harassment instances, there are people who will simply ignore the lessons.

 “There’s always the outliers that don’t care,” Lichtenberg said. “There’s going to be the people who don’t care because it doesn’t affect them or they don’t care if it affects them.”  

The sexual abuse training gave KHS a chance to help educate students and prevent sexual harassment and assault in the district. More information and resources about sexual violence are available here.