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MEO, ALS teach ROTC sexual harassment prevention

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Every Airman knows that the Air Force has an unbendable zero-tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment. As common sense as that policy may seem, it's still briefed to all of us throughout our careers.

Last month, Seymour Johnson's Airman Leadership School and Military Equal Opportunity office paired up to ensure our potential future Airmen know this same policy long before they cross into the blue. On June 20, Master Sgt. Danny Wells and Staff Sgt. Maurice Ingram, both from MEO, held a seminar with 45 JROTC students from all over North Carolina during their annual JROTC Summer Leadership School with ALS.

"We felt it was very important for the cadets to be educated about sexual harassment for several reasons," said Staff Sgt. Teresa McGreevy, the ALS instructor who requested the seminar. "But the main reason we wanted to teach them now is because we don't want them to participate in it or become victims of it."

During the seminar, they taught the students several things including the definition, types and forms of sexual harassment, prevention techniques and consequences of sexual harassment. The MEO instructors also included case studies, exams and open discussions to see how well the students retained the information.

"We wanted to see if they could apply the principles we taught them to real life situations that could happen in a high school environment," Sgt. Ingram said. "And we do this because sexual harassment doesn't just happen in the adult world."

The training and the case studies are very important because most students aren't aware that certain behaviors that may seem commonplace in their every day life are legally considered sexual harassment.

"Whether through jokes, teasing or inappropriate touching, the vast majority of kids will experience some form of sexual harassment during their school years," Sgt. Wells said. "Our job is to make sure they know how to recognize, report and address these types of behaviors."

The bottom line is that sexual harassment can happen to anyone at any
time -- regardless of age.

"I don't think anyone wakes up in the morning planning to harass another person, but some people do so out of ignorance," Sgt. Ingram said. "This is very important training, because the very minute we fail to educate ourselves and our society to the standards of behavior, we create a recipe for disaster."
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