In this article, Stein and Taylor chronicle the history of the movement to address sexual harassment in K-12 schools, from their unique perspective on the front lines.
The social movement to address sexual harassment in K-12 schools in the United States traces its development to the larger women’s rights movement in the late 1970s. It was an outgrowth of the work of feminist activists who protested and filed lawsuits to draw attention to sexual harassment in the workplace, as an issue of equity for working women. The focus on sexual harassment in K-12 schools did not begin as an academic pursuit or with an emphasis on research, but as an activist movement to rectify injustices.
Stein and Taylor document the unwritten history of this social movement by examining the early roots of the work to address and prevent sexual harassment in K-12 schools. They focus specifically on those who worked in the education field, whether at the state level in the state education bureaucracy or at the local level in school districts across the U.S.
The article looks not only backward but forward, emphasizing the need for current and future researchers to be reflective about their work, to maintain its feminist and gendered perspective, and to ensure research is translated into accessible language so that it is not limited to academic circles.