‘Lifelong skills’

Elementary school teacher says Kavanaugh hearings inspired her to teach her students about consent

Citizens of the World Charter School teacher Liz Kleinrock. (YouTube)

A Los Angeles elementary school teacher says that the recent hearings concerning the alleged sexual misconduct of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had inspired her to add an item to the agenda for her 8- and 9-year-old students — lessons about consent.

Liz Kleinrock, 31, says that she encouraged her 25 young charges to put together a chart outlining what what does and does not constitute constitute consent. Already, she says, it’s been helpful for students who previously had a tendency for hugging classmates when they didn’t want to be be touched.

“I always like to think about what can I do to be proactive,” Kleinrock told The Washington Post. “You can’t change what’s happened in the past, but what I feel like I do have some control over is the future of our country, and how we’re educating our children to be better and more responsive than we currently are.”

“We made the chart together,” she added. “I organized the different sections of it, but everything in it is student-generated.”

As part of the teaching exercise, she also gave a writing assignment in which students explained why they thought consent was important. In one response, a student wrote, “Asking for consent is important because if you don’t they might not trust you the next time you ask.”

“Asking for consent is important because if you didn’t thay [they] midof [might have] not wanted to get tuchd [touched],” wrote another.

Her children, wrote Kleinrock in an Instagram post, already appear to the understand the issue better than “half of congress.”

“It’s really sweet to be bombarded with five little kids being like, ‘Can I give you a hug, is it okay if I give you a hug?’ ” she said, noting that other third-grade teachers at her school are also adapting their own lessons to teach students about consent. “There’s a really strong belief that we’re not just here to teach students reading, writing, math, science and things like that, but that we are trying to equip our students with lifelong skills that will set them up for success when they go off into the world.”

Earlier this year, Kleinrock was recognized with a 2018 Teaching Tolerance Award for her efforts in educating students about diversity and other difficult issues like racism and civil rights. Below, watch her discuss some of her methods in the classroom.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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