Slut Shaming – a horrible school epidemic 

I recently attended the annual NJASA spring leadership conference. The conference always offers a variety of leadership workshops and shares the latest educational trends, case law, and pedagogy. Surely there is some time to catch up with colleagues and network with your contacts, but I was surprised that one topic came up over and over again:”slut shaming.”

For real… slut shaming came up over and over. Student versus student, teacher versus teacher, and even administrator versus administrator. From Sussex to Salem counties, from the poor to the affluent district. I was astonished.

If you aren’t familiar, slut shaming is a form of social stigma applied to people, especially women and girls, who are perceived to violate traditional expectations for sexual behaviors. Some examples of circumstances where women are “slut-shamed” include, violating accepted dress codes by dressing in perceived sexually provocative ways, requesting access to birth control, having premarital, casual, or promiscuous sex, or being raped or otherwise sexually assaulted (Lamb, 2008).

Slut shaming is a type of victim blaming. Almost as bad as anonymous social media apps such as YikYak or LuLu,  this is a whole new level of hurtfulness and harm in a school. While we are always learning how to combat the latest bullying methods in school, and rumors of promiscuity have always existed, such ways to send lies  and such hurt have never been so easy. Even worse?  What was reserved for middle and high school has crept into elementary schools.

As Administrators, dealing with rubbish such as this takes up time in every district. Additionally, we are not clerics, nor should we be in the business of passing any type of judgment. Rumors will always exist in a school, but a caliber such as this – this slut shaming – is awful and will be dealt with zero tolerance if I ever have to deal with it.

I’m disgusted that I am writing this post. Given such an awful topic, I feel compelled to. We need to have resources and meaningful solutions to stop such heinous behaviors. This is rumor spreading and hurt on a whole new level. Educators must do that… Educate.

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