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#MeToo Goes to School, With an Urgent Push for Rights Awareness

Brylie was in seventh grade when, by her account to police and her school, a classmate raped her. She’s sharing her story with the Monitor “to help other people who are afraid to come out and say what happened to them,” she says. It’s her way of joining the #MeTooK12 movement, launched Jan. 9 to draw attention to sexual harassment and assault in the younger grades – which so far has received less focus than abuse on college campuses and in workplaces. Brylie, like many young survivors, claims her school system failed to protect her from sexually explicit harassment by the boy after the rape, which eventually led to her leaving the school. Hers is one of 156 complaints related to sexual violence and Title IX violations in K-12 schools under investigation by the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. “These entitlement behaviors [and] the normalization of sexual harassment starts in K-12, with the schools not really disciplining students and not really talking about it,” says Joel Levin, cofounder of Stop Sexual Assault in Schools. “We need … parents and school staff to work together.”