Ironmen learn about consent

Taylor Kern
Jones explains the concept of toxic relationships to students.

NCHS’s monthly Lunch and Learn, an event held in the IMC during lunch hours that educates students on various topics that they may not get to learn about in the classroom, hosted YWCA Stepping Stones this Thursday, April 26.

YWCA Stepping Stones is a sexual assault program in Bloomington Normal that provides free, 24/7 assistance for victims of abuse and assault. The program is confidential and offers legal and medical advocacy on top of counseling and transportation.

Miss Ranisha Jones, a counselor and educator for the program, spoke to around 80 NCHS students across the three lunch hours about consent and boundaries through various activities and discussions.

Jones started the event by asking attending students what they thought boundaries were. Students responded with answers like “a limit,” a “stopping point,” and a “set of rules you set for yourself.”

“Would you stay with someone who told you what to wear?” and “Would you feel comfortable talking about sex with your partner?” were some of the questions Jones then asked the students. Green, yellow, and red pieces of paper colored the library as students held up colors that corresponded to their answers. Students that were comfortable enough shared the explanations behinds their answers with the group.

The conversation then shifted to the topic of consent, which was accompanied by a popular video titled “Tea and Consent,” which compares verbal consent to asking someone if they want tea. Jones closed by telling the students that “[they] don’t know someone’s past or history is, so [they] have to have conversations to learn those boundaries.”

Taylor Kern
Students discuss consent after “Consent is Tea” video shared during the session.

While Lunch and Learn talks are usually teacher suggested or come from University of Illinois, YWCA Stepping Stone’s visit was one of the first student suggested Lunch and Learn since they began in 2016. Jones offered her contact information to any students who had questions that they couldn’t get answered anywhere else. “It is such an important topic,” Jones said. “High school is one of the places where consent is most prevalent.”

YWCA Stepping Stones also holds a two-hour workshop about the consent, sexual assault, and boundaries that can be requested for workplaces and other groups, which the Lunch and Learn talk was based on.

Ranisha Johnson can be contacted with questions at [email protected] or (309) 585-3619 and YWCA Stepping Stone’s hotline is (309) 827-4005.