On March 14th, in front of all Seattle Public school health teachers, Garfield’s own Sexual Assault Awareness Club, better known as SAAC, presented what could be the new standard for consent education and awareness in our schools.
In recent months the club has been cultivating and practicing a presentation aimed at underclassmen coming into Garfield. The slideshow went through everyday ways to include consent into your life. To the club’s surprise, they were given an uncommon opportunity: to educate our educators.
“That’s where we found out they really love the content and they would love for us to come visit,” said Senior Arlo Van Liew, one of SAAC’s officers referring to the upcoming Seattle Schools tour.
The unique experience given by the SAAC members could be encapsulated in the reverse effect of the student teaching the teacher. Seeing those you look up to, looking up to you.
“It was really nice having the teachers feedback. It showed that they had questions as well, and that themselves, they did not have the answers,” said Sophomore and SAAC officer Nina Tran.
The presentation explains the ways people can incorporate consent into everyday life.
“We cover it to really prove that if we are incorporating consent into everyday interactions, the whole attitude around consent in terms of sexual encounters will just slide into place,” Van Liew said.
In general, incorporating consent in its entirety into the health curriculum is part of the goal, to show that consent is not constrained to only sexual encounters, and to make people feel comfortable in a space that they know is safe. All in the hopes that Garfield could become that space.
Starting with underclassmen coming in, the goal is that as a school, we can all become a part of a healthy consent culture.
“Since the content is so valuable, we are not trying to limit ourselves to just freshmen,” said Junior Egeljin Myagmarsuren, another one of SAAC’s officers. “Our whole end goal is just to create a safer space for everybody.”
As the path of Seattle’s consent education unfolds, only a certain amount of effort can be put in from the members of SAAC. The final push must be done by the rest of SPS, our teachers, our students, and our admin.
“I do think that there is change happening,” Van Liew said, “but it’s fairly slow. I can see the wheel turning and I can see some things getting better, some things are getting worse, but its all for the gradual betterment of the education system.”
With one presentation down and many more to go, SAAC waits eagerly to present to more SPS members, and possibly to do much more.
“I’m really excited for the tour. Its to give people language and start conversations,” Van Liew said. “I’m just hoping to give people a baseline of information to start being able navigate and to start being able to implement consent into their every day actions and behaviors.”