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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth H. Canning

What I'm Learning Now

Updated: Jan 26, 2020

There are many aspects of Title IX coordinator work. Being a community resource and managing allegations of sexual misconduct in a compliant and appropriate manner are certainly first and foremost. However, Title IX coordinators also want to get at the root of these issues to prevent allegations in the first place and effectively educate students. We have to work to understand the issues underlying sexual violence in order to meaningfully prevent and/or respond to violence on K-12 and university campuses. This requires looking at our students' understanding of sexuality and relationships.

Schools cannot do this work alone.

Prevention also requires that parents ensure that their children understand healthy sexuality and relationships. Most parents, however, do not talk with their children in a meaningful way about these important issues. This report from the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education is essential for all guardians and parents; it discusses the failure of parents to educate their children, how children actually want their parents to have these conversations with them, and how important this education is.

The amount of information for parents and educators is growing, and I have a couple of books in mind. In today's New York Times (for the Sunday Review), the journalist Peggy Orenstein penned an opinion about boys' sex education. She discussed the importance of providing boys with the necessary understanding and communication tools to navigate sexual encounters. The article is, of course, timed with the release of her book on the subject, Boys & Sex. She first wrote Girls & Sex, and Boys & Sex is the result of her realizing that she needed to obtain the boys' perspective as well as the girls'. (A Title IX kudos to her as she has sought to consider the experiences and voices of both sexes.)

This week I am going to start reading Girls & Sex and share my thoughts on it. I'll read Boys & Sex next and discuss it as well. I am curious not only to learn about the perspectives of girls and boys, but also to see whether these two books combined provide a balanced and meaningful approach to understanding how each sex navigates these complex issues and what could help them navigate safely. Stay tuned!

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