It’s a difficult time in America when it comes to the issue of consent. And for one California teacher, it’s motivated her to take action.
Liz Kleinrock, a third grade teacher at Citizens of the World Charter School Silver Lake in Los Angeles, is taking the issue into her own hands by giving her students a simple but insightful lesson on the concept of consent. With a simple flow-chart style visual, which she posted on her Instagram feed, she details the central points of the issue in terms that are easily understandable and relatable to young kids.
The chart explains in easy-to-understand terms what consent is, what it looks and sounds like, and why it’s so vitally necessary.
In her Instagram post, Kleinrock explains that she was inspired by the ongoing drama surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused by three women of sexual assault or misconduct.
“I think whenever I tend to look at things spiraling in society, particularly political events that are going on, I like to think about what kind of foundational skills should have been in place earlier to prevent these things from happening,” Kleinrock said in an interview with Huffington Post.
Kleinrock also used writing and role-playing activities to drive the points home. But one thing that isn’t included in the lesson is any mention of sex. In fact, it never occurred to her to even broach the subject–because, in the end, sex isn’t the issue.
“People seem to have a really hard time with this because of the connection between consent and sex, but it never crossed my mind to talk about sex with my class,” she told HuffPost. “My students are 8 and 9 years old. It’s really about respecting space and physical boundaries and interacting with each other.”
Kleinrock, a winner of the 2018 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Teaching Tolerance project, has a background is in social-emotional learning and social justice education, and holds the position of her school’s diversity coordinator.
On social media, folks were thrilled by Kleinrock’s much needed lesson, and shared it widely.
Kleinrock has also taught her students about race, discrimination, stereotypes, privilege, the Holocaust, and slavery. Highlighting the importance of these topics, she said, “I’m going to say this for the rest of my life: When there are persistent issues in a society, you can’t hope to fix them unless you actually talk about what they are.”