Recent U.S. Department of Education data illustrate a great divide between what many school district administrators report and what students claim is their reality.
For the first time, Civil Rights Data Collection includes statistics regarding harassment and bullying. Curiously, fourteen of the twenty biggest school districts in the USA reported no incidents of sexual harassment, no disciplinary actions for bullying or harassment, nor students who reported being bullied or harassed.
The Executive Director of AAUW stated: “These reports of no sexual harassment and bullying happening in a school district are impossible to believe. It just does not sync with what we know to be the unfortunate reality for many school children in this nation. High-profile incidents in the press of students being bullied to death and independent research conducted by AAUW show that it is highly unlikely that any school district would be free of sexual harassment and bullying.”
AAUW research, Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School, found that nearly half of all surveyed students in grades 7–12 reported that they had been harassed in school year 2010–11. About a third of all girls and a quarter of boys said they had witnessed sexual harassment at school.
The Dearborn Public School System is to be congratulated for its pro-active stance and transparency in such matters. Acknowledging sexual harassment and bullying exist within our schools is necessary to make schools safer.
Obviously it is incumbent upon citizens to question those schools which claim to be free of sexual harassment and bullying. The reporting of accurate data is the best way to begin to improve school climates.
DEARBORN HIGH SCHOOL theatre program presents
THE MUSIC MAN.
You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll sigh. This production is directed by none other than Greg Viscomi, well-known for outstanding high school productions that go well beyond typical results.
For those of you present at our Annual Meeting, please recall that our superb speaker was AAUW-Dearborn branch member, Christina Viscomi, elder law attorney. Greg’s good taste is corroborated by the fact that he is Christina’s husband.
Also, at our last-two holiday luncheons, we have observed choral-music students in the pursuit of excellence. Both of their performances exemplified how extraordinary Carmelle Atkins is at pulling disciplined cohesion from her Dearborn High School, vocal-music students. Odds-on, students in this production of THE MUSIC MAN will charm, delight and entertain you as well. Attending this production is a fine way to demonstrate that you value the arts as a necessary-and-universal component to the development of educated citizens in a free society!
Thursday–Saturday, March 29, 30, 31 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 1 at 3 p.m.
Onstage in the Valentine Auditorium in Dearborn High School.
Tickets: $11 General Admission
$10 for college students with I.D.
$7 for students, children and senior citizens
Ticket reservation-and-information line: 313/827-1647
“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, ‘It’s a girl.’”
–Shirley Chisholm, first black congresswoman who also ran for the Democratic Party nomination for President in 1972. She championed educational opportunities, social justice and employment. opportunities.
The human race viewed collectively is mankind.
Human beings considered collectively is humankind.
Women considered collectively is womankind.
Gloria Steinem once said: “Many women feel invisible or aberrant when they are subsumed under a masculine term that is supposed to be universal; yet they are often made to feel trivial and nit-picking if they object. But look at it this way: Would a man feel included in ‘womankind’”?
The three words: mankind, humankind, womankind all end in kind, a noun meaning type. If the use of ‘kind’ in this context were an adjective instead describing traits: considerate, gentle, loving, caring, consider how different the behaviors and expectations of a society, as well as a whole world of societies, that honored such adjectives as part of their definition of humanness and humaneness might be.
Instead we’re forever caught in the word web, struggling through the overgrowth of meaning, wallowing through the quicksand of manipulation, and perspiring past hype. Mankind and humankind and persons and womankind and females are endlessly tempted by prefixes and suffixes that trick perception.
Even every human being regarded as an individual is a person. No wonder an individual woman and even women in general can get confused about their places on this planet.
“To carry a torch” may change meaning this summer. Until now, this old-fashioned, quaint phrase suggested a situation where an individual loved another without reciprocation. Now we are on the edge of historic change where women from Saudi Arabia, may be able to “carry the ball,” as first-time athletes and even ultimately “carry the day” at this summer’s Olympics.
Christoph Wilcke of Germany, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch’s Middle Eastern and North African division was lead author of a fierce account that described the hostilities women athletes contend within Saudi Arabia, including systemic discrimination. State-run schools provide no physical education for girls. In 2009-10 gyms for women were closed.
Wilcke contends that the I.O.C. will be violating its own charter if it allows Saudi Arabia to participate in the Games while discrimination against women remains rampant. Wilcke asserts, “While token participation is welcome, it wouldn’t change our position that the I.O.C. should affect more systemic change.”
Apparently, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz has approved the participation of female athletes as long as they, “meet the standards of women’s decency and don’t contradict Islamic laws.”
Saudi Arabia is run by a monarchy with a legal system based upon fundamentalist Islamic law. The daily lives of women there are severely curtailed. Male guardians control permissions for women to work outside the home, to pursue an education, to open a bank account, to marry and to travel abroad. Ironically, even driving automobiles in this oil-rich nation is forbidden for females!
For the first time, Qatar and Brunei may also send female athletes to compete this year.
Meanwhile Human Rights Watch wants female Saudi athletes to be allowed to participate in the London Games and that women’s divisions be opened in sports organizations and clubs. In addition, they are pushing for girls to be taught physical education. Finally, they suggest an outreach program be initiated to encourage women to participate in sports.
Erika George, a professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, states, “There are people who may think it’s inappropriate, but there’s precedent for this. It’s going to be hard to argue that a woman can be an Olympic champion but not be behind the wheel.”
This cartoon from “Rookie,” a website for teenage girls, spoke to me because I remember as a child sharing my dream of becoming a vet with a well-intentioned teacher who assured me, “Girls can’t be veterinarians! How could they move a cow?” As I type this, it just sounds sexist on multiple levels.
According to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: 20.4 million women with private health insurance and 24.7 million women with Medicare can now receive preventive health services with no cost-sharing under the Affordable Care Act.
“From increased health coverage to free preventive services and lower prescription drug costs, our mothers, grandmothers, daughters, friends and neighbors are already benefiting from this law and will continue to in the months and years to come,” said Secretary Sebelius.
Under health reform, mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, flu shots and regular well-baby and well-child visits will be covered at no cost.
In August of this year, many health plans must also cover, without cost-sharing, preventive services such as well-woman visits, domestic violence screening, and breastfeeding supplies.
In fairness to the political opposition, what never seems to surface in these announcements are tax burdens and Medicare cuts.
Based upon results from an invitation-only survey of scholars from around the world, the annual Times Higher-Education World-Reputation Rankings placed the University of Michigan twelfth.
Only four public institutions are included within the top twenty-five: University of California at Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Only one hundred universities complete the rankings. Simply being listed places a school in the top one-half of one percent of higher education institutions!
Dear Commissioner Irma Clark-Coleman:
I was delighted and proud to learn today that Michigan is one-of-four states that has passed a resolution proclaiming support for the establishment of the National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall. In my role as president of the Dearborn Branch of the American Association of University Women, I want to acknowledge your deft leadership, while you still served District 3 in the Michigan State Senate, in overseeing passage of the resolution. That Michigan became a leader in this initiative is both gratifying and satisfying!
You may well be aware that one-typical, sixth-grade history book devotes seven out of a total of 631 pages to the contributions of women! Little wonder we continue to be marginalized as a gender.
Thank you for your leadership in initiating the resolution and shepherding it to passage. In these bitterly divisive times in politics, it must feel good to be part of a bi-partisan push. Please know that your ongoing work to improve the quality of life for all is admired and respected.
I intend to place these remarks on the blog within our website (<http://dearborn-mi.aauw.net/>) and to copy this letter to the president of the AAUW-MI, Sally Doty, as well as the president-elect, Janet Watkins (<http://wwwaauwmi.org/>). I don’t know whether or not you are already a member of the American Association of University Women, but I do know we would be honored to have you become a member. I am equally certain you would support the mission of the organization: “AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.” Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.
By the way, please say hello to Chairman Gary Woronchak for me. He was one of my students at Edsel Ford High School way back when! I have always been grateful that in his various political roles, he has exemplified integrity and displayed great communication skills.
All the best,