I was walking on Shattuck in Berkeley on Thursday, 2/13/20 as I often do. There were two of the kids of the school, meaning young women, and we said hi.
One of them had a bright and cheerful smile. The other was also reasonably happy but her smile was less obvious or powerful.
I asked if they had participated in the recent protests. They said yes, though when they had walked to the Sup’s office building they said that they were only on the first floor. If I understood them correctly, there were other people who filled up the higher floors and so, these two of them, or one of them, only went on the first of the floors of the nearby school district administration building.
The school administration building is an easy walk from Berkeley high school. The administration has a reception area and usually only receives persons and groups by appointment, I am told, but they obviously made an exception for the 1000 or so of the kids on Tuesday morning!
I asked if the news reports of sparse or inadequate training re consent were true. I asked what was their training on the topic of consent, if any?
From what the young ladies said, if I remember it correctly, they are of 10th grade. They said that they had had a 15-minute segment of teaching on the topic of consent and that that segment had included watching one of the tea cup videos on the topic of consent. If I understood them correctly, this segment of teaching was done in 9th grade and has not been done since that time, in 10th grade.
I did not ask them if they had taken any time to practice saying yes and saying no, to some basic requests. I made the guess that with 15 minutes of instruction that the teacher had not done any practical training, but I could be wrong!
It seems to me that a kid would want to practice saying yes in some cases and saying no in some cases and also practice stopping a guy or other person, without hitting them, if that person is approaching them in an semi-aggressive or dangerous way. A person would want to experience 1) yelling or shouting at a guy or another person to stop; and 2) placing her hands and arms in front of her as a barrier and seeing if that will stop a guy who is approaching, but who seems to be one who does not need to be hit.
In PE class a girl or young woman would, I believe, want to practice hitting a dummy with enough force to stop him or knock him down or injure him, but I assume that that might be a different part of teaching that the segment on consent!
If you have a class of 25 kids, and if you divide them up into groups of two, and if you practice saying no and saying yes and if you practice shouting and yelling to stop and if you practice putting you your arms as a barrier, will that take 15 minutes or longer? I do not know!
They said that they had found the tea cup clip to be strange and they may have said that it was very strange, but I will not guarantee that they used the phrase “very strange.” They definitely regarded it as strange.
From what these two said, they have not been subjected to serious coercion into bad or unwanted behavior.
It did not occur to me to ask them if they would hit a guy in the nose or face or throat or groin if he was acting stupidly and putting them in danger. I also did not ask if they had had any encouragement or suggestion to do so, and if so, how.
If a guy was groping them and attempting to take things further and they did not like it, would they hit him? I do not know!
If a guy was approaching them and they regarded his approach as dangerous, would they stop him or hit him? I do not know!