Last night I was in my Friday night coma when I turned to PBS. The program that happened to be on was NOW. The topic this week was titled, “Is Your Daughter Safe at Work?” It was about how teen age girls get sexually harassed in their workplaces. One of the startling statistics estimates that 200,000 teens are assaulted on the job each year. The program is really worth watching.
The reason why this caught my attention is because a student in my homeroom was telling me about her job earlier in the day. She works at a dry cleaners. Apparently the night before some guy had come in to pick up a comforter that he had cleaned. It cost $20. As he was getting the comforter from my student, he made some comment about how if he was going to pay $20 to get the comforter cleaned that he better have her under it the next time. I don’t remember exactly what the student said in response, but she handled herself well.
This is another thing that we need to teach our girls. How to handle men that make inappropriate comments. Many teen girls lack the self confidence to say anything. When it first happens to you, I think you’re just shocked and don’t know what to do. But if you’ve talked with someone about it, you at least have an idea of what you can do or say. Some of the companies now have training on identifying sexual harassment and what to do if it happens to you. That’s one improvement. But it’s just barely scratching the surface.
And so grows the list of topics to teach that don’t have anything to do with math…