Advisor’s Angle: #MeToo Campaign and International Students

Janel Cook 2017cropBy Janel Cook, Student Advisor

Sexual harassment is uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate (as an employee or student).

The hashtag #MeToo has become a social media phenomenon lately. By using this hashtag on social media, women are sharing their stories of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse. As #MeToo has gained momentum, we are witnessing that many women have experienced these incidents. It is important to remember that boys and men can also be victims of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse. Cultural norms for men place them in a position that causes embarrassment in vocalizing that they too can be victims.

International students may be particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment or abuse for several reasons:

  • Initially, a lack of close and familiar relationships
  • Place a lot of trust in adults caring for them
  • Spotty understanding of the English language
  • Cultural differences in body language, physical boundaries
  • Are unfamiliar with their host communities

Sexual harassment is often difficult to identify because encounters such as simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents, can seem harmless and minor. When this type of behavior becomes frequent or severe, it can create a hostile or offensive environment. It is considered sexual harassment because it interferes with a student’s concentration, comfort level, and feeling of safety in an environment.

If a student experiences sexual harassment or the like, they are strongly urged to speak with a trusted adult as soon as possible. This could be their host parent, a teacher, a coach, or their coordinator. Please note the importance of a local adult being made aware of the situation before the natural parents are notified. Students can also call the national office 1-800-622-3553 at any time.

Students are recommended to take precautions for their own safety while on program such as walking in groups instead of alone and not being distracted by devices when out in public so that they are fully aware of their surroundings.

While the majority of students have a positive experience on program free from sexual harassment, it is still important to be knowledgeable about the topic. Knowledge leads to prevention and early detection.

We fully acknowledge that this is not an easy topic to discuss but also acknowledge that that does not make it any less important. We are all stronger when all genders of all ages enable one another to be kind and respectful of personal boundaries.

Questions or comments? Email advising@nacelopendoor.org.

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Congrats Semester 1 Grads!

Before students left for Winter Break, we took a moment to recognize five students who are wrapping up their time at St. Paul Prep and earning their diplomas at the end of the semester.

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From L to R: Minh, Hayla, Tony, Julie, and Quang

Though the end of the semester is not officially over until January 26, two of our students, Hayla and Tony, have completed final projects and tests before the break, so they won’t be back.

Students graduating is always a bittersweet time, and this fine group of scholars makes the goodbyes even tougher. But we wish them all the best in the future, and we thank them for all they have done while attending SPP. #ForeverFalcons

Holiday Spirit Week Highlights

Last week was a busy one at St. Paul Prep, with all of our Holiday Spirit Week Dress-Up Days, basketball games, a SPP Night Out, and, of course, the Art and Talent Shows last Thursday!

Each day we awarded a prize to the “Best Dressed” of the themes. which included Pajama Day, Sport Day, Favorite Character Day, Career Day, and Christmas Day. Thanks to all the students who went above and beyond with their costumes!

The SPP/HSRA varsity and JV boys basketball teams had a monster week, picking up big wins in their first two home games of the season. The varsity squad trounced Minnesota Transitions Charter 85-42 on Tuesday, then upped the ante on Thursday with a 91-73 victory against Lincoln International. The JV team also had a huge week, posting wins of 44-12 and 67-4 (not a typo: 4 points)!

Students also had the chance to take in a Timberwolves game on Thursday evening. The hometown team gave our students a show, topping the Kings 119-96!

But the big event of the week was our Art and Talent Shows on Thursday, which was capped off with the traditional cake-eating contest. If you couldn’t make it to downtown St. Paul or you missed our live-stream of the event, you have some options to watch it! You can find the entire video on our Facebook page or our YouTube channel.

It was a crazy week at SPP, and now students are eagerly preparing for Winter Break! Hooray Falcons!