Credit: Joanna Barrow
DearWayland: The Instagram account that shocked the community
DearWayland Instagram page brings anonymous students' sexual assault stories to the forefront
Part One: “We think WPS’s culture of silence was revealed by our page.”
“The school doesn’t care what happens: they just want to keep a clean record.” “None of the teachers did anything.” “...speaking up would only bring me hate and ridicule.” In early August, two WHS students began an Instagram page where they posted anonymous stories of sexual assault and harassment submitted by students in Wayland Public Schools with the handle @dearwayland. Above are excerpts from a few of the posts. The account...
Part Two: Title IX
In response to the Dear Wayland Instagram page, superintendent Arthur Unobskey encouraged families and students to contact their school principal or the WPS district Title IX coordinator if they believed they were the victim of sexual harassment. In the subsequent letter addressing how the District planned to work toward a harassment-free learning environment, six steps were outlined. The last step...
Part Three: “They never taught us how to receive the help and support that students need.”
Part of the district’s response to the Dear Wayland account was to clarify the formal complaint process. This is because many students do not know how Title IX applies to sexual harassment, what a Title IX coordinator is or the process for reporting sexual harassment. In a survey of 100 students, 82% of respondents do not know what the role of Title IX is, 90% do not know where to find the coordinator’s...
Part Four: Changes
Since district administration became aware of the Dear Wayland instagram account, they’ve begun discussing ways to improve student experiences in Wayland. “I say [the Dear Wayland account] has had a very deep impact,” Mizoguchi said. “There have been many of these Instagram accounts that afford students and community members a public forum for describing very painful experiences, and so...
The Investigatory Process
Beginning the process: The investigation process begins with written notices to both the respondent and complainant. The notice now has to include the identities of both parties, per the new changes to Title IX. The complainant isn’t allowed to remain anonymous to the respondent anymore, and the notice must indicate the date and location of the alleged incident. It must also state that the respondent...
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