During the fall semester, Berkeley High School (BHS) students attended consent education assemblies led by professional consent educator Shafia Zaloom. During the 58-minute assembly, students were provided information and definitions about the topic, so they could determine if a series of complex romantic situations were consensual.
Now, to build off of the assemblies, Zaloom is going to individual classes and delivering more in-depth presentations.
The presentations started around a month ago and will continue for most of the semester.
The presentations include six different and complex scenarios about consent for students to examine. Students work together in groups to decide if the activities of the scenarios are consensual or not. Afterward, Zaloom debriefs and analyzes the scenario with the entire class.
The scenarios are adapted from stories Zaloom has gathered from survivors and teens who have experienced sexual harm.
She said she wants the scenarios to challenge teens to try to process and apply consent to situations that could be similar to their potential encounters.
BHS senior Nathaniel Miles-Urdan, who recently experienced the presentation in his economics class, said he learned a lot.
“I liked the presentations,” Miles-Urdan said. “I hadn’t had in-depth consent education before and the presentation talked about sex ed on a deeper level.”
Others also expressed appreciation for the consent education presentations.
“I really liked the emphasis on the fact that consent it’s not always a simple yes or no situation,” said Philippa Kennedy, a senior in Academic Choice (AC). “The scenarios were more relevant to BHS because one of [them] took place at a party and that’s good since a lot of sexual harm happens [there].”
In terms of providing a variety of scenarios, Zaloom said there was a gender-neutral scenario, two queer scenarios, and three gender binary scenarios.
However, Kennedy still said that “providing more diversity would have been nice.”
The presentations have also been paired with monthly consent videos, which are distributed to classes. According to senior Rosie Bultman, one of the creators of the videos, even though they had been working on the videos for almost a year, Zaloom accelerated the process with her feedback, allowing them to be distributed sooner.
Zaloom’s presentations will continue throughout the school year until she has presented to every student.