This article appeared in the March 29, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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How girls at one high school turned around a #MeToo moment

Peter Grier
Washington editor

The International Baccalaureate is an educational program originally designed to provide college prep for young people whose parents worked in diplomacy and multilateral organizations. Over decades it’s grown into a network of some 5,000 schools in 153 countries. They offer learning meant to develop students who care about working toward a peaceful world via intercultural understanding and personal respect. (My youngest son is a proud earner of an IB high school diploma.)

Given this, it’s surprising that IB students in the Washington area are having their own #MeToo moment. But perhaps the way they’ve tried to handle it shouldn’t be.

Eighteen girls in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School IB program in Maryland learned that male fellow IB students had ranked them based on looks, with numbers down to hundredths of a point, according The Washington Post. The girls felt violated. These were boys they thought were friends.

Long story short, they pushed the administration to hold list creators accountable. The school organized a meeting of all IB students during which girls stood up and recounted their feelings about the list – and their many other experiences with harassment and objectification.

The boy who primarily created the list stood up and apologized. He said it wasn’t meant to circulate. He said when you have a culture where talking about how women look is normal, making a list didn’t seem like a terrible thing to do.

One of the girls said it wasn’t the boy who was the outlier in this situation. The outliers were those who spoke up. “That culture needs to change,” she said.

Now to our stories, which deal with the possibilities of small-bite progress on health care, the electoral effect of corruption in Ukraine, and how eating vegan became a billion-dollar business.

This article appeared in the March 29, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 03/29 edition
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