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Editorial: Local sexual misconduct cases illuminate Archer’s continued efforts, call for more education

In+order+to+make+Archer+as+safe+as+possible%2C+students+must+stand+together+to+prevent+sexual+misconduct.+Archer%27s+prevention+protocol+is+forward+thinking%2C+but+students+need+to+know+more+about+it.+Illustration+by+Kisa+Rozenbaoum.
In order to make Archer as safe as possible, students must stand together to prevent sexual misconduct. Archer's prevention protocol is forward thinking, but students need to know more about it. Illustration by Kisa Rozenbaoum.

In order to make Archer as safe as possible, students must stand together to prevent sexual misconduct. Archer's prevention protocol is forward thinking, but students need to know more about it. Illustration by Kisa Rozenbaoum.

In order to make Archer as safe as possible, students must stand together to prevent sexual misconduct. Archer's prevention protocol is forward thinking, but students need to know more about it. Illustration by Kisa Rozenbaoum.

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This editorial was published in response to a feature article on the same topic.


In the past year, sexual misconduct cases at Los Angeles area schools, including Brentwood and Marlborough, have made the front page of major publications — shedding light on issues that are far too often ignored.

In 2015, Carina Oriel reported on professional development trainings lead by Dr. Monica Applewhite; from her, Archer teachers learned to form clear boundaries to prevent sexual misconduct. Over two years later, that important dialogue continues, but more education on campus is still needed.

Archer does a great job educating its faculty on the subject, and the fact that Archer has clear protocol in place is commendable. The protocol is rooted in years of research from experts in their fields and is specifically shaped to suit the Archer community.

This focused and straightforward protocol is reinforced to teachers annually during the August Institute, ensuring that Archer remains a safe community for all. Because the protocol is frequently brought up to faculty, there is no ambiguity and all are fully aware of not only Archer’s specific guidelines but the gravity of sexual misconduct.

However, students should receive similar talks. Most students, to their detriment, are totally unaware of the rules and procedures contained in the detailed protocol. Students know that a teacher cannot drive them home or text them, but they might not understand the important reasoning behind those rules. Many may see the restrictions as an unnecessary inconvenience, but fully understanding Archer’s protocol and its importance will illuminate the urgency of sexual misconduct prevention. The official written policies should be easily accessible to not just teachers, but all students — possibly even including it on Archer’s main website. With recent misconduct cases around Los Angeles, now is the time to step up open communication.

When Applewhite first came to Archer she spoke to the student body, but those presentations took place years ago and updated talks are long overdue. Many students who were present for the conversations have now graduated, have forgotten the talk or simply were not present.

According to the National Sexual Assault Hotline, one in nine girls under the age of 18 experiences sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult”

In an interview with the Editorial Board, Head of School Elizabeth English recognized that many students do not remember this presentation. The Board strongly recommends another formal talk on the topic perhaps as a Community Connections discussion.

According to the National Sexual Assault Hotline, one in nine girls under the age of 18 experiences sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult. If this average holds true for the Archer student population, 55 of the school’s 495 students could experience some form of sexual abuse before they graduate. Because of Archer’s already existing thorough protocol, this number will certainly decrease, but with more conversation the administration can come even closer to completely eliminating the issue.

Archer already includes self defense classes in the Human Development curriculum, but it is imperative to talk specifically about on campus sexual misconduct. Many students know that relationships like these are inappropriate, but may feel uncomfortable or unaware of how to report and identify incidences.

The administration and faculty are already extremely educated on sexual misconduct prevention, but students must acquire that same level of awareness. Archer’s protocol is exemplary, but increased open dialogue with students will only make this campus safer. The effects of sexual abuse are grave and long lasting, so more student educational activities on sexual misconduct must occur.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Editorial: Local sexual misconduct cases illuminate Archer’s continued efforts, call for more education”

  1. Anna Brodsky on October 2nd, 2017 8:39 pm

    Thank you for this powerful editorial! I could not agree more; I definitely think that communication between students and administration/faculty on this vitally important issue should be strengthened.

    [Reply]

  2. Ms. Pavliscak on October 6th, 2017 7:34 pm

    I hear your request for more direct education to students about boundary setting and professional conduct. Archer’s work in regard to maintaining a safe learning environment is way ahead of the pack. Assemblies to share our protocols with the student body are already planned. We will also continue to use Dr. Applewhite’s curriculum to inform and empower students to understand appropriate emotional and physical boundaries at Archer and beyond.

    [Reply]

  3. Anika Bhavnani on October 8th, 2017 7:39 pm

    This is a very strong editorial and I am extremely intrigued by this perspective. I totally agree that Archer does a great job in preparing and educating us, but they could do a stronger job in bringing up the conversation more than it usually is.

    [Reply]

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