The ARHS Women’s Rights Club, Man Club, and Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) have collaborated to create Consent Week, which will take place from April 4- 8. The goal of the week is to teach and promote healthy and positive communication in relationships. This is the second year of the event and we’re excited to build on what we did last year. Events are supported by a grant from the PGO.
The Women’s Rights Club has planned a wide range of activities to reach every member of the ARHS community and to contribute to a positive climate at the high school. In addition, 30 students have been trained to facilitate complex discussions about consent with their peers. Activities include:
- Informational Morning announcements on the issues of consent
- Informational Posters and Leaflets in the school: Got consent?
- Lunch Tables – What do healthy relationships look like? What are rights and responsibilities in a relationship? What are ways to say Yes / No?
- Wednesday advisory 4/6: Student-developed and student-led lesson
- After-school events: (all discussions are in Room 302 at 2:30)
o Monday – Panel of college students and administrators about consent issues on college campuses
o Tuesday – Female Identified Students: Rape Aggression Defense Training with Janet Lopez from the APD (in the main gym); Male-identified students: Discussion with Tom Schiff from UMass Men and Masculinities Center
o Wednesday – 11th and 12th grade students will take part in a facilitated discussion about communication and consent, led by trained student facilitators. Ninth and 10th grade students will view a short video about consent and have a structured discussion led by their advisory teacher. We believe that the topic is important enough to make it part of the advisory curriculum this year, but also understand that some students may wish to opt out. An opt-out option will be available for all students in all grades.
o Thursday – Consensual Cookie Building with Yana Tallon-Hicks, writer and sex educator
o Friday – Guest Speaker Lisa Fontes from UMass “Controlling relationships”
In preparation for the week, ARHS staff have consulted professionals at the Amherst College Sexual Respect Office, the UMass Center for Women and Community, the UMass Men and Masculinities Center, and the Amherst Police Department.
Additionally, the guidance department is poised to support any student who is affected by the week’s discussions. While the broad messages of each day will be posted for everyone, most events and discussions are voluntary, and students will never be forced to attend or share anything.
Age appropriateness and universal relevance are major goals for us. We understand that students and their families have a wide range of values and experiences, and have tried to design workshops and activities to meet students at all levels. For instance, while discussions about consent at the college level might focus on sex, ours will focus on any sort of kissing or touching at all. The core message is that everybody deserves to be asked first so that nobody is touched in any way that they don’t want to be touched. We are not assuming that students are sexually active, or that they should be. We want to teach lessons about consent before they are.
A letter has been sent home to parents. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NOiOK5qMZrTrmZ8XFvE3o15i5rozAxBmJUyhq02AxDM/pub
Also attached is a website of resources for students and their families: bit.ly/consentweek2016.
Parents and guardians are also invited to join any of our after-school guest speaker sessions.