Nearly 500 students protest in San Francisco against sexual harassment at some campuses

Students presented the school district with a list of demands
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Nearly 500 San Francisco students rallied on Friday to denounce what they say is the school district's lack of response to a number of sexual assaults and harassment cases on different campuses.

From the classroom to activism.

These students from different public high schools in San Francisco say they feel ignored by a school district, they claim, is doing very little to address sexual assaults and harassment on their campuses.

"There is a lack of accountability, there is a lack of transparency and there is a lack of real activism surrounding this issue," expressed Asha Bhagwan-Sager, a student and one of the organizers of Friday's event.

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There seems to be an uprising among some Bay Area high school students, who are complaining about sexual harassment and assault at their schools.



During Friday's rally on the steps of City Hall, students presented the school district with a list of demands among them, create a support system for survivors and teach students starting in elementary school the meaning of consent.

There were more proposals. "Survivors should not be subjected to interacting with their abusers," said one of the students reading from a list of demands.

From there they marched to the school district. We spoke to the deputy superintendent who acknowledged that more can be done.

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Hundreds of Oakland Tech students walked out of class Wednesday, staging a protest over Oakland Unified School District's sexual harassment policies.



"Really enhance and expand our curriculum that we have for students so that they can be educated about what sexual harassment is and what to do if they experience it," said Enikia Ford Morthel.

What so many students told us is that they feel that pressure to conform and don't know how to properly respond when they are assaulted or harassed by another student.

"It happened in lower school as well. They'll have just days when they would go around and like slap people's butts, I remember that," recalled Charlise Estes who is now a freshman at Lincoln High School.

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A meeting was held Thursday night to discuss what is being done in light of sexual misconduct allegations at Oakland School of the Arts.



"They're upper classmen. They are above us, it's really hard to say no," added Silmona Amanuel, another student from Lincoln.

"They usually target people like alone or like freshman and those who they know won't speak up," said freshman Anya Balas

The school district told ABC 7 news it has sent an email to families highlighting the commitments it's making to prevent and respond to sexual harassment. The district now wants to engage students in that process.

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