BHS Stop Harassing

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This video, made by Brea Kaye, a member of our steering committee and BHS senior, explains who we are and what we stand for. It includes information about our definition of sexual harassment, our school district's current policies, and statistics that demonstrate the prevalence of sexual harassment in high schools everywhere. It was filmed at our first teach-in.

Our Mission

We are BHS (Berkeley High School) Stop Harassing. We are Berkeley High students and adult advisors working to change the culture at BHS and beyond around sexual harassment and violence. We want BHS to be a model of a high school where all students feel safe and respected.

Our work is urgent because this is a pressing problem at our school, where support is minimal and there is very limited access to services for victims of harassment; and virtually no training for school staff or students on the issue. We seek to engage school and district administration decision makers to immediately address shortcomings in the school environment that create an unsafe learning environment and impede student success.

Steering Committee

Our steering committee, currently composed of the seven student members below, makes decisions regarding our next steps as an organization.  

Liana Thomason

Senior in AC

I founded BHSSH with the goals of uniting victims and allies, educating teachers on how to make school feel safer, and changing the macho culture at BHS (and most high schools) that views women's bodies as objects and glorifies sex and sexual harassment. I want to make sure BHSSH can meet these goals even after the other seniors and I have gone off to college by helping to set up a long-term, sustainable governance structure for BHSSH. I would set up many subcommittees, to allow BHSSH to focus on many important issues, such as education/curriculum review, media contacts, policy review, peer education, and a committee to run meetings for survivors to share their stories in a supportive environment. I would help create long-term BHSSH leadership positions, such as a board. I want this organization to be so well set up that it will still be going strong five years from now.

India Derewetzky

Senior in BIHS

My name is India Derewetzky and I am a member of BHSStopHarassing's new steering committee. I love this organization and everything it stands for. It's incredible what such a small group of people has been able to do for our school community, and the changes we have already enacted in our district. We've done so much already that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of. I help to run our Instagram page and I helped with the process of creating our shirts. But I want our group to do more. The reality is, we need to start thinking ahead to following years so our organization can thrive after we've all graduated. At this stage we must focus on organizing ourselves and achieving smaller goals until we are established. The way we can do this is by imposing subcommittees that each attend to one of our points of focus. The two subcommittees I think are the most important at this stage are those that focus on outreach and those that focus on media. We've heard from many that our group is homogenous. With organized outreach to many of the clubs on campus we can bring in new ideas and opinions. We can also reach out to organizations in our area to create community allies and raise awareness. With a media committee we can continue to spread the word so that other girls who experience harassment have an organization to look up to and call upon when they need help. These and many other ideas are what I think will move our group forward to a more established organization, and keep us fighting harassment in the most effective way possible.

Brea Kaye

Senior in AC

BHSstopharassing has become part of my life over the past few months. I have learned so much about the flaws of the system we are apart of and intern have become inspired to influence change and fix those problems. I have been with this organization, this movement, since the very beginning when there were only a handful of us sitting around a kitchen table and eating pizza, ranting about how messed up everything seemed. For me, it is amazing to come to meetings now and see upwards for thirty people crammed into the smallest spaces wanting to create change. I believe BHSstopharassing can go farther and reach more heights than we already have. To do this, I propose we reach out to other groups in the area, which would give us not only more recognition but also the solidarity we need to implement real change. These groups include UC Berkeley, and BAWAR. We also need to make sure education about sexual harassment is brought directly into the classrooms. This means we have to keep the administration under pressure and continuing actions like out teach in to keep our purpose in peoples’ minds. To start community outreach, I have been managing the Facebook page and creating a series of videos highlighting what sexual harassment is and what needs to change.

Rachel Siskin-Lavine
Junior in AC

I have been a part of BHSSH since day one, and I am so amazed at how much this fantastic organization has grown. At our very first meeting, we were sitting around eating pizza and ranting about the flawed system, and now look at us. We're making a difference. I want to join the steering committee of BHSSH because I hope to eliminate the accepted culture of sexual harassment, and raise awareness about this issue, and how to end it. Additionally, I hope to reach out to other high schools in the Bay Area, and eventually all over the country with the hope that they can follow our lead and change the culture at their schools as well. Additionally, I have been on a youth advisory board for the CYGNET Study, where we have been presenting to teens about puberty, and teen health. I hope to bring my knowledge of sexual harassment, that I have gained from being a part of this group, to that work as well. This would be a wonderful way for BHSSH to reach out to other teenagers in our community. Furthermore, I hope to someday create curriculum of teen dating violence and awareness at BHS where students, and teachers have the opportunity to discuss and learn about these issues as an essential part of the already existing "social living" unit. I look forward to continuing to grow with this organization.
Maya Siskin-Lavine
Junior in AC

This organization has become such a huge part of my life, and I know that will continue. I have been part of this group since our very first meeting. I never imagined that we would get as far as we have, in such a short amount of time. This journey has been so amazing, the empowerment that has accompanied it, and the excitement of continuing to watch us grow and create change. I have had leadership experience working on the Youth Advisory Board for a medical study for the past three years, and I believe that I can use those skills to help move us forward. I propose that we expand our organization on local and national levels. BHSSH should reach out to Bay Area high schools and work with them to create groups like our own in their communities. In addition we should work with schools across the country, such as the high school program at Bard College, where I know there are many people ready to start an organization like ours. I hope to be a part of writing and teaching curriculum in our school, and maybe other schools as well. I can see our group expanding and continuing to blossom throughout the next few years, even when many of us will be gone. I'm blown away by how far we have come and I am so happy to be a part of this organization.

Alecia Harger

Freshman in AC

I am proud to be a member of BHS Stop Harassing, participating in the teach-in and assisting in the education of my peers was rewarding. However, in the weeks following the teach-in I noticed that there are many ways for our organization to improve. I believe that BHS Stop Harassing has the potential to become a cornerstone of BUSD policy decisions and Berkeley High culture. But before we can get there we have to make some major alterations to the form and function of our organization. It is important for us to reach out to other schools, and I do see that as a goal for BHS Stop Harassing going forward. However, I believe that we need to continue directing our focus towards Berkeley High. Many of our peers think that we have done little as an organization. I think that one of our next goals should be creating another publicity campaign; one aimed solely at BHS students. It is important that our peers understand the work that we have done, and the ways that it will affect them. I want to create small and efficient subcommittees so that our meeting time can decrease and our productivity can increase. Finally, I believe that it is important to make our group as inclusionary as possible. I want to work with the Black Student Union, and other clubs that are representative of minorities, to insure that the problem of harassment is not combated from the perspective of a racially homogenous group.

Emily Levenson

Freshman in BIHS

When we created BHS Stop Harassing, I believe that our main goal was to make our high school a safe place, for both survivors of sexual harassment and their allies. Last week, one of my closest friends came to me and shared that someone he knew and cared about had been raped. As a result, she was depressed and suicidal. He had no idea what to say or do to help her, and he asked me for resources. I realized then that all of the work that we have doing, while extremely important, has not shown our own student body, which should be our first priority, what an upstander culture looks like. I realized that I wasn't prepared either; the hotlines that should have been at my fingertips, I had to ask my mom for. We keep talking about ways to send pieces of this message out into the Berkeley community, but we haven't been successful yet. I propose that before we start our work in other places, we focus on what brought us together, the harmful culture of sexual harassment that is still strong at our school. BUSD students need two things right now, for the administration and their policies to be backing them up, but also the more personal work of making resources, next steps, and prevention common knowledge. If we can succeed in this at home, we can use these experiences to make a template to help others later down the road.