Consent week to spark conversations surrounding relationships, harassment


Betsy Noel

During consent week, students will complete a module teaching them about consent, harassment and how to receive help.

Adrianna Nehme, Assistant Editor

To reinforce concepts of consent and help individuals expand their understanding of it, members of the Laboratory Schools will host the school’s first-ever consent week Feb. 8-11.

According to Title IX coordinator Betsy Noel, the annual training that each student receives surrounding sexual harassment is not sufficient to help students understand consent. She hopes a week of special emphasis on consent can spark further communication surrounding the topic.

“Even though it’s a thing we practice all the time, it is still something that we need to talk about, especially in the context of interpersonal relationships,” Ms. Noel said, “because people don’t think about it in the many ways that they should.”

Students will be required to complete a module through Schoology that explains Lab’s policies, basics surrounding harassment, and consent and how to receive help. Ms. Noel will put a meme, a fact and a resource in Schoology every day of the week. She will also hold an open lunch Feb.10 to discuss consent.

“This year, especially right now with everyone thinking about transitioning back to school, there’s a lot going on, so I want to make sure conversations about consent are accessible and not overwhelming,” Ms. Noel said. “Although consent week is a particular celebration of consent and healthy relationships, the idea of consent needs to be incorporated into everything that we do and everything we talk about.”

Some clubs plan to hold workshops during the week. While the Intersectional Feminism Club members don’t have a specific plan for their workshop yet, they hope to hold an open space where students can come together and feel comfortable discussing their opinions about consent. 

“Just having a time for people to focus on consent, even if it’s just a week, could be a good opportunity to engage people who care about gender equality all over the high school,” co-president Will Trone said.

Ms. Noel hopes that this week will allow students to take a moment of reflection before taking actions. She believes that having this impact, even for a short while, is huge for transforming mindsets.

“If it could make each student pause even just once before posting something, touching someone or saying something about someone else,” Ms. Noel said, “just like a moment’s reflection of whether that behavior is wanted or unwanted, would be amazing.”