Schools With Gangs Also Tend to Have Higher Levels of Sexual Harassment

A new study by researchers at the University of Kansas, the University of Illinois, and Texas State University finds that the presence of gangs in schools can lead to an increased level of sexual harassment in these institutions. The study found that in schools with gangs the incidents of sexual harassment were more frequent and more violent. The study also found that in schools with gangs there were increased levels of homophobic teasing and bullying.

The researchers found that gang leaders engaged in sexual harassment and other members of the gang followed suit with the same behavior in order not to become victims themselves. Girls at the schools with gangs reported that they were groped, pressured to give in to sexual advances and even given color-coded bracelets to wear that indicated how receptive they were to sexual advances.

Anjali Forber-Pratt, assistant research professor in the Bureau of Child Research at the University of Kansas and a coauthor of the study, said that schools with gangs produce a climate of fear among students, teachers, and administrators that allowed the harassment to continue unchecked. She hopes that the research will “address how you can create a safe environment when you’re dealing with a climate of fear in a school.”

Dr. Forber-Pratt was a member of Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games in the sport of wheelchair racing. She holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctorate in human resource education, all from the University of Illinois.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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