Sexual harassment is when someone treats you in a way that you don’t like because of your sex or gender. It may make you feel embarrassed, scared, uncomfortable or sad. You may not be sure how you feel about it.
Sexual harassment can happen to people of all genders, but it is directed at someone because of their sex or gender.
Something someone says to you that you do not like. For example:
A teacher or other adult makes comments about your body, says they are attracted to you, tells you dirty jokes, or talks about their sexual habits.
A coach tells you that you can’t play if you don’t let them touch your body.
Other students call you anti-gay slurs at school, on the internet, or by text because they think you do not act like a man or a woman is supposed to act.
Someone touches you without you agreeing to it, in a way you don’t like. For example:
A classmate on the bus grabs your butt when you walk by.
A classmate tries to pull off gender-related clothing that you are wearing. For example, someone pulls off a girl’s headscarf or hijab, pulls off a transgender girls’ necklace or grabs at a girl’s bra through her shirt.
A teammate sexually grabs an out gay member of the team in order to make them feel uncomfortable.
Someone shows you something that makes you uncomfortable. For example:
A classmate texts you a naked picture of themselves, which you do not want.
Someone at the bus stop flashes you.
A teacher or adult shares pornography with you.
Someone talks about you in a sexual way to other people. For example:
A co-worker spreads rumors at the restaurant where you work about your sexual activity.
Someone posts naked pictures of you on social media without your consent.
A hostile classroom or other space that makes it hard for you to participate. For example:
Sexual harassment is illegal at school AND at school activities like sports, theater, or school-sponsored internships.
Sexual harassment at school is illegal in 2 types of situations:
Someone offers to treat you better or not get you in trouble if you do something sexual with them, or if you don’t tell anyone about the harassment. For example, a teacher tells you they will give you an A if you take off your clothes for them.
The harassment is so bad or happens so often that you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at school or school activities, or it is affecting your school work.
Remember, this type of harassment can be motivated by your sex or gender. This means harassment of LGBTQ students is often included in legal protections.
By law, ALL public schools have to:
Have a sexual harassment policy
Have a way to report sexual harassment
Investigate all reports of sexual harassment
Take steps right away to try to stop the harassment and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Write down details of what happened to you, and when.
Tell someone you trust (a parent, counselor, teacher, etc.)
If you want the school to investigate, you MUST tell a school official, like the principal. You can ask another adult you trust to help you make a report. The school only has to try to stop the harassment if a school official knows about it.
If the principal doesn’t listen, you can tell the superintendent or a member of the school board. You can also make a report to the school’s Title IX (“Title Nine”) Coordinator, who is in charge of dealing with sex discrimination. Ask your school for their contact information.
You can also make reports to authorities outside your school, particularly if your school is not addressing your concerns.
Contact: Minnesota Department of Human Rights Phone: (651) 539-1100 or 1-(800) 657-3704 TTY: (651) 296-1283 http://mn.gov/mdhr