Nearly half of students in grades 7 to 12 are sexually - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Students being sexually harassed

The American Association of University Women published a report which found nearly half of students in grades seven to 12 have experienced sexual harassment. The study included interviews from nearly 2,000 students nationwide.

Researchers defined harassment as "unwelcome sexual behavior that takes place either in person or over an electronic medium."

Nichole Rooney, a Tucson mom with two young children, says she tries to teach her kids right from wrong.

"We just teach her, don't do to others what you don't want you don't want done to yourself," Rooney said. "I think that really helps."

According to the study, 56 percent of girls and 40 percent of boys in grades 7 to 12 were harassed last school year. Harassment included everything from unwelcome jokes and comments to inappropriate touching and online harassment.

"I have a pre-schooler and I can't even imagine at all her going through that," Rooney said.

Tori Holter says students should not have to worry about things like sexual harassment at school.

"That just made me sick in my heart because school should be a safe place for kids," Holter said.

Superintendent Nic Clement says he has seen an increase in harassment that takes place over social media sites, such as Facebook.

"A lot of that happens outside of school, on weekends," Clement said. "They're more challenging to deal with because they are true social media."

School officials at Tucson Unified School District and at Flowing Wells say students need to be proactive and report bullying and harassment to adults, including counselors at school.

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