Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, it’s pretty hard to escape the plethora of sexual assault charges that are being launched against a spectrum of people (both men and women) in our society.
Initially, the bombshell about movie producer Harvey Weinstein hit the news—then a flood of others came to the fore to tell their story. It’s amazing that it was this, and not the Donald Trump “pussy grabbing” fiasco that has been the catalyst to a “me too” movement that has women all over the world telling their stories of sexual harassment, assault and even rape.
Though many of the accusations are charges against actors in Hollywood, producers, or people in the music industry, it now appears that our very own legislators are not immune to the “me too” confessions and in fact we have now learned that two women are accusing a local long time politician, Senator Tony Mendoza, of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior while in Sacramento. Today, many are calling on the resignation of Mendoza as he stands accused of sexual misconduct. Mendoza is a former 4th grade teacher in the LAUSD and a former member of the board at UTLA as well as a CTA representative who got his start in politics at the local level in the city of Artesia where he served on the City Council and as Mayor.
All of this has been in the news every single day everywhere you turn this is what you hear and see. Unfortunately, it is also what our kids are hearing and seeing. Seeing so many people in positions of leadership and POWER that are making terrible decisions to exploit others is not a good thing for kids to see. We cannot simply ignore it. We need a strategy to help kids understand that this type of behavior cannot and should not be tolerated.
So how can we turn this into a teachable moment? I think we need to remind our kids and young adults about respect. Respect for each other and respect for themselves. It’s seems like this is a perfect opportunity to focus on teaching kids that it is just as important to have self respect and care about yourself and how others see you as it is to respect others. It is important to point out that a person in a position of power who harasses others around him/her has a lack of self control and self respect and will only be remembered in a negative light, despite professional accomplishments.
I found a couple of sites for parents and teachers on self respect and I am posting here so we can teach our kids something from this very unfortunate social reckoning we are living through.
These are just a few of the sites I found that could be helpful. There are tons of resources out there. It’s sad that in this day and age, we have elected leaders that send this kind of awful message to kids. It is never alright to abuse the power that has been given to you by the people and use it to bully, harass or sexually offend others. If in fact these accusations are true, and it appears that they are, Mr. Mendoza should resign in shame immediately!
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