California Teacher Now Teaches Kids About Consent After Kavanaugh Hearing

A third-grade teacher in California created a simple, easy-to-understand chart to explain consent to her students.

Liz Kleinrock, a 31-year-old reading and math teacher at Citizens of the World Charter School Silver, took the time to discuss the timely subject in the wake of the of sexual assault allegations directed at now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Titled “All About Consent,” Kleinrock’s chart is designed to teach a simplified definition and discussion of “consent” that children aged 8 or 9 can understand.

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She posted an image of the chart on her “Teach and Transform” Instagram and Facebook pages last week as the Kavanaugh hearing made headlines.

“What does it mean to give consent?” Kleinrock asked in the chart at the beginning.

The question is answered with: “To give permission,” “To say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” and “To be allowed to do something.”

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Kleinrock noted that to constitute actual consent, the answer needs to sound “positive and enthusiastic,” providing examples such as “Yes!” and “Of course!” to “I’ll allow that” and “Okay!”

To express denial of consent, she used phrases such as “No,” “I don’t want that,” “I don’t feel like it right now,” and “Ask me again later.”

She also listed some situations in which it is necessary to ask for consent, including “giving hugs,” “borrowing things,” “touching another person,” “kissing,” “sharing” and “secrets.”

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Under a section titled “What if…” Kleinrock teaches children how to identify situations in which consent is not given: “What if… You really want a hug, but the other person doesn’t?”, “The other person says ‘no,’ but they’re smiling?”, “You’re in the middle of a hug, and the person changes their mind,” and “The person let you hug them yesterday, but they don’t want a hug today?”

To emphasize her point, she wrote the words “Not consent” in red letters.

Since the image went viral, netizens have expressed their support to the teacher’s efforts in teaching her students of such an important lesson early on.

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“This is how we fix the world. One class, one kid at a time,” one Instagram user commented.

‘”Thank you for this — it’s basic, simple and to the point,” another commenter wrote. “No drama, no fuss, no muss — just facts — Thank you so much!”

“Thank you for creating such good with your frustration. Sounds like more adults need this than I would have thought,” someone chimed in.

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She also revealed in an interview with the Huffington Post that she gave her students a writing activity about consent, and asked them to participate in a role-playing scenario in which they asked her if they could give her a hug.

Image via Instagram / teachandtransform
Image via Instagram / teachandtransform
Image via Instagram / teachandtransform

“I’m saying the word ‘yes,’ but my tone and my body language are so clearly uncomfortable so I ask, ‘Can you read my body? Can you read my face? How do you think I’m actually feeling?’” she said. “Or I’m laughing and saying, ‘No, not right now.’ I look happy and positive, but the words coming out of my mouth are still no. It’s the tone and delivery.” 

Kleinrock explained why she was prompted to create the chart, which has become widely shared on social media.

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“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,” she was quoted as saying.

 

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More evidence that my 8-9 year old students are smarter and have more emotional intelligence than half of congress.

A post shared by Liz Kleinrock (@teachandtransform) on

While preparing to teach her young students about the topic of consent, she noted how she didn’t even consider mentioning “sex” during the discussion.

“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 explained.

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When in San Francisco, go to the @modcloth store and live your best Pinterest teacher life.

A post shared by Liz Kleinrock (@teachandtransform) on

“My students are 8 and 9 years old. It’s really about respecting space and physical boundaries and interacting with each other.”

Kleinrock, who has a background in social-emotional learning and social justice education, has discussed many social issues with her students in the past, including race, discrimination, stereotypes, privilege, the Holocaust and slavery.

Featured Image via Instagram / teachandtransform

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