Fed up San Francisco students walk out of class to protest sexual harassment, assault

Hundreds of San Francisco students from a variety of different high schools, walked out of class Friday, all with the same complaint.

They say sexual harassment, even sexual assault by other students, is widespread on their campuses, with little or no consequences.

"Someone touched me in an inappropriate way. I didn't really like it," said one student from Jordan High School.

Almost every female student we encountered had a story to tell.

"One time I was leaning down and a boy looked down my shirt and made comments about my body. I started yelling at him because he had done stuff in the past.  And my teacher told me it was just a teenage boy thing," said Natalie Deiner, a junior from Lincoln High. 

The students marched from City Hall, several blocks to school district headquarters. They then marched back to City Hall for a rally.

Male students rallied with them to show support.

"If their voices are heard change can be made. So we can move toward a better world," said Max Klein, a freshman from Galileo High.

Students have walked out of class before. But this was the first one that was coordinated with multiple schools both public and private.

Last month, students from Oakland Tech High School walked out for the same reasons. Students say they are frustrated and angry.

"People reach out to staff through emails and in-person and nothing happens. They don't get any results," said Phoebe Anzalone, a Lincoln High student.

In response, The San Francisco Unified School District referred KTVU to a letter Superintendent Vincent Matthews sent out families. It says in part:

"Over the past few months some students have shared demands and we want them to know that we are listening. We applaud our students' activism."

The district says it does investigate complaints, that it is forming a student advisory group on sexual harassment, and has been implementing training for teachers and staff.

The district also says it has no authority over incidents that happen out of school.
Students did not seem satisfied with the district's efforts.

"There should be actual consequences for the people who are assaulting and harassing others. And it's not happening," said Deiner.

The students say that unless the situation changes they expect to stage more protests and more walkouts.