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School holds sexual consent workshops

Grades+11+and+12+students+engage+in+sexual+consent+workshops+Jan.+30-31.+Speakers+from+the+Talk+Consent+organization+educated+students+about+consent+and+guided+them+in+discussing+possible+real-life+scenarios.+
Grace Hamilton
Grades 11 and 12 students engage in sexual consent workshops Jan. 30-31. Speakers from the Talk Consent organization educated students about consent and guided them in discussing possible real-life scenarios.

Students in Grade 11 and 12 attended sexual consent workshops Jan. 30-31. In the workshops, students learned about sexual consent and discussed examples of sexual harassment and assault. 

Sydney Dowd (’23) said these workshops are vital because they help students better understand how to act in complicated situations. 

“They’re definitely important because, like, there definitely are a lot of weird grey areas that young people especially are gonna get confused about,” Dowd said. “So, it is important to just, like, really teach people where the lines are.”

Director of Student Life James Perry said the consent workshops began in the 2015-16 school year to give students a better understanding of sexual consent before attending college.

Perry said it is essential for students to know how to properly engage in consensual sexual activities. 

“It’s really important, I think, that people know how to navigate all of that, and also how to just be really careful, so that nobody ends up doing anything that they’re not sure they should have been doing,” Perry said. 

Alex Roche (’23) said although students understand the basics of consent, it is important to discuss how to approach more complex situations. 

It’s really important, I think, that people know how to navigate all of that, and also how to just be really careful, so that nobody ends up doing anything that they’re not sure they should have been doing.

— Director of Student Life James Perry

“I think on a more technical level, people kind of get confused when it starts to include other factors like where you are, and I mean … what substances you’re on,” Roche said. “People need to know those differences.”

Similarly, Dowd said these workshops were helpful for students to gain a better understanding of what to do in certain situations, especially those who may experience sexual harassment. 

“People can take away a bit of clarity and a bit of what’s actually expected of them, and also like what you can do if you feel like you’ve been a victim of a situation like that yourself,” Dowd said.

However, Dowd said the workshops should have clarified what is not acceptable behavior and what constitutes a lack of consent, and that “they could have given us more straight-up answers.”

Perry said this year’s workshops are different compared to previous years due to the involvement of Grade 11 students and a change in the organization hired to present the workshops. Perry said the organization hired this year was Talk Consent, focusing less on the legal side of consent and more on the human experience. 

“In the past we used a group called the Consent Project … and now we’re going with Talk Consent, and … there’s still a legal focus, but it’s a little less,” Perry said. “There’s a little more on like scenarios and how do you take care of yourself, your friends, your partner, all those types of things.”

People, especially young boys … definitely don’t respond to feeling like they’re being lectured or told that they’re actively doing something wrong.

— Sydney Dowd ('23)

Regarding the change in organizations, Dowd said she appreciated that the presentation was more conversational than a formal lecture. 

“I liked that it felt more like a conversation than a lecture because I think that people, especially young boys … definitely don’t respond to feeling like they’re being lectured or told that they’re actively doing something wrong,” Dowd said. “So, I liked that it was kind of a conversation and just a bit more of like a self-reflection than a lecture.”

Overall, Roche said the workshop was very informative, especially because he could relate with the individuals giving the presentation. 

“I found it informative and I thought they were quite useful,” Roche said. “The people that they found to do it were quite genuine people, and because they were, you know, young, it was easy to hear from them.”

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About the Contributors
Nick Zirinis, Lead News Editor
Nicholas Zirinis (’23) is the Lead News Editor for The Standard. He initially got into journalism on the Middle School newspaper The Scroll, giving voice to those in the school community and being an asset to informing the student body intrigued him. Since then, Zirinis has taken part in several journalism classes while also attending NSPA and CSPA journalism conventions and participating in summer courses.
Grace Hamilton, Editor-in-Chief
Grace Hamilton (’23) is the Editor-in-Chief of The Standard. Her love for writing stemmed into a passion for journalism, and she became involved with The Standard in Grade 9. Journalism provides her a powerful platform to inform the ASL community and learn more about local and global perspectives, issues and events. Outside of journalism, Hamilton leads the Sustainability Council, writes creatively and sails competitively.

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