Students at Oakland Technical High School in Oakland walked out Wednesday morning to protest a culture of sexual harassment mainly by other students, a school district spokesman said.
The walkout began about 10:30 a.m. at the school at 4351 Broadway. The group of demonstrators marched to Oakland Unified School District headquarters at 1000 Broadway, where they held a rally outside the building.
Among their demands, the students called on the district to come up with a safer and better policy to address sexual misconduct, provide support services for survivors of sexual misconduct, train staff on how to recognize and prevent sexual misconduct, abolish the dress code, and form a review committee to investigate accusations of sexual misconduct among teachers or students.
“The bottom line is that we are no longer just fighting for Oakland Tech and its community,” the organizers wrote. “For far too long, OUSD and surrounding districts have perpetuated a culture that has made sexual misconduct seemingly go unpunished, and it will take deep structural change to change this.”
Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki said district officials take the concerns very seriously.
Staff were scheduled to take a professional development course Wednesday on sexual harassment, and next week at Oakland Tech the district will be starting a new refresher course for students on sexual education and consent, Sasaki said.
The course may be taught at other schools in the district, he said.
Any time allegations of sexual harassment are made, district officials take those seriously, Sasaki said.