Sexual Harassment is brought into light on RHS Campus


serenity Mejia

A person holds a Me Too sign which has gained attention in the media.

Serenity Mejia, Sports Editor

     Twenty-four hours after hearing about students coming forward with sexual harassment and assualt allegations on social media and through the Spergio link  Ridgeview High School took immediate action and began an investigation into the allegations according to Assistant Superintendent Dean McGee at the board meeting that took place on September 8, 2020.

      According to Mc Gee during the board meeting he stated that, “the school responded immediately.” 

    Along with these allegations coming out on social media, it sparked a reminder of the #metoo movement. This movement was created to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assualt in society. It’s where people have a safe space to share their stories with others, have resources in order to heal, change laws/policies, and expose their offender(s). 

     With stories coming out on social media Former student, Hector Cabrera Jr. wanted to involve himself in the situation because, “I felt very disturbed about what I saw and what was being posted because it exposed a dark underside of what I always considered to be an idyllic school system; e. g you don’t often think of these events could be taken place. I felt that I could use my knowledge of local politics and board policy to try to push real change and force the board to act.”

      First, Cabrera reached out to those who spoke out, tried to see what they could do, and tweak policies they’d recommend to the board in order to make them broad and general. The policies trying to be changed are the Administrative Regulation and Board Policy. 

   “This is to ensure that sexual harassment victims are given more resources and are supported by the school system”, says Cabrera.

        On September  8, 2020  the board listened to Cabrera on whether or not to act on these changes requested. Although the changes to the Board Policy are up to the board, our community and Ridgeview  students can urge for the board to pass legislation. All of this is up to the board because they are the ones with the power and authority to create change.

         Students have asked what is the school doing?  So far there is an ongoing investigation concerning the sexual harassment and assualt claims. Ridgeview High School notified the Bakersfield Police Department in all four cases.  

       Last fall, Principal Steve Holmes, held student orientation assemblies in the auditorium to go over sexual harassment and discrimination topics. In September, freshman and sophomores came with their PE class and in October junior and seniors came with their English class. There is a link on the school’s website, as well as every other school in the district,  where students can report their sexual harassment, bullying, threats, and more. It is located on the top of the website, it is called “Sprigeo School Safety Tip Line” and if you wish, you can remain anonymous. 

        Ridgeview High School  students expressed their concerns about the allegations that are ongoing, the link that is on the website,  as well as the Title IX course that is on Canvas this year due to the school closures. 

         “I think it was smart to add the link, it should be helpful to students, but it could be a little weird because we’re online. I think Title lX was a reminder for students, but most students are already aware of half the things stated on it,” says Jada Burrell. 

        Some students like Kyron Willman were not aware of the link, “I didn’t even know of this link until I was interviewed. But I think the link was a really beneficial addition to the school’s website because a lot of people don’t have someone to turn to  or might feel embarrassed to tell a loved one what they went through.”

       Another student  Nivia Lopez stated, “I feel that the link the school added for reporting harassment might help a little for people who aren’t afraid of telling people what happened to them. I don’t think Title lX did anything, because all you needed to pass it was to watch a seven minute video and answer three questions. That’s someone doing the bare minimum. For someone who has gone through that, I believe that they could have elaborated more on a lot of subjects, like how it can make you feel or how it might impact someone in their everyday life. I felt like they could’ve asked people who actually had it happen to them share their experiences, if they were comfortable with it. They could’ve done all of that instead of two kids reading people’s stories in less than forty seconds, they could’ve done more than a video provided by the district.”

         Student Saul A. Acosta has a different opinion on the link,  “The new link is a move in the right direction. He added, “I feel as if it provides an easy outlet to come out about stories of sexual assault. My only worry is that the school will start to cherry pick any reports. It provides confidentiality for students who have the courage to come out with their stories. Giving them ease when they report what happened. The Title lX course given to us did nothing. Students easily skimmed through the course and that was it. Learning nothing from it. We need to have a discussion amongst our peers and truly understand why sexual assault is a big issue on our campus. In the discussions we must learn what sexual assault is and what preventive measures can be taken instead of taking the perpetrators side and victim blaming.”