This video, made by Brea Kaye, a past member of our steering committee and BHS alumni, 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 organization is called BHS (Berkeley High School) Stop Harassing. In total we have 53 members of all different grade levels (freshman-seniors). Along with the student members of our organization, we also have two adult advisors that help us facilitate all of our idea. We are working to change the culture of harassment at BHS and educate our peers so that they can spread their knowledge. We want people to see that harassment is a prominent issue and needs to be addressed.
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.
Why is BHSSH not a Club?
People have asked why Berkeley High School Stop Harassing (BHSSH) is not a club. Here’s why:
1. Our name is a call to action. It demands that Berkeley High School stop sexual harassment. Our name makes clear that the harm that we are addressing and the culture that we are working to change is what we see here, in our school, every day. So while “BHS” is in our name, the school is not our sponsor but rather the institution that we are trying to improve.
2. Our structure lets us create a safe space for survivors. We advocate for survivors of sexual harm, and often hear sensitive stories at our meetings. Victims do not always want to report what has happened to them, and BHS SH provides a space for them to learn their options before doing so. Being a club means that a teacher will be present at all meetings. A teacher advisor would be mandated to report sexual harm discussed at meetings, taking away the victim’s choice and potentially retraumatizing them.
3. Our structure helps us work long hours to make change. We meet about twice as many hours as most clubs - during lunch on Fridays and for two hours every other Sunday. If we were a club, it would be more difficult to meet on Sundays, which would limit the many hours that BHS SH members spend working to improve our school culture.
4. Our structure allows us access to outside advisors. While clubs primarily receive advice from teacher sponsors, BHS SH student activists work with not only with BHS staff but with other grassroots organizations and two BHS parents with a wealth of advocacy experience around sexual harassment.
5. It is our right and our mission to organize a grassroots movement of student activists. We do not have to form a club to advocate for what we believe. By being an unaffiliated organization, we are exercising our ability to speak up and organize for change in our community.
Our Leadership Team
Presidents: Cela Parker (12th grade) and Ella Ashley (11th grade)
Treasurer/Merchandising: Minh Khai Spencer (11th grade)
Outreach Coordinator: Tilden Skoble (11th grade)
Media Coordinators: Krithi De Souza (10th grade) and Emmaline Sampson-Eves (11th grade)
Policy Coordinator: Sophia Kiang (12th grade)
Secretary: Sylvie Love (11th grade)
- We were founded in the fall of 2014 in response to a comment during the annual "Welcome Assembly" that linked girls' inappropriate dress to sexual harassment.
- We are a grassroots organization, not officially affiliated with Berkeley High.
- Our group is comprised of students and two adult advisors.
- We meet every other Wednesday at lunch in Ms. Villagran's room (C231) and on weeks when we don't have Wednesday meetings, Sundays from 1:00 to 3:00pm at the East Bay Media Center.