Third Grade Teacher's Brilliant Lesson on Consent Is Going Viral

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, a California elementary school teacher named Liz Kleinrock came up with this smart way to teach her third graders about consent. 

With the national discussion around the #MeToo movement, as well as sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and other headline-makers, reaching a fever pitch, more parents and educators are talking to kids about consent. A third grade teacher in California recently took to Instagram to share a simple, but brilliant chart that she designed to teach her 8- and 9-year-old students about the concept. 

Titled "All About Consent," the chart outlines when one should ask for consent, how to recognize it and what to do if it's denied. Alongside the explainer, Kleinrock wrote, "Everything about Kavanaugh in the news has been making me HEATED. So whenever I get frustrated about the state of our country, it inspires me to proactively teach my kids to DO BETTER. Today was all about CONSENT. We even explored the grey areas, like if someone says “yes” but their tone and body language really says “no.” Role playing is a great way to reinforce these skills, but they MUST be taught explicitly!"

The chart quickly went viral, with many commenters praising Kleinrock for her work. One wrote, "Love this! I wish I had a teacher like you when I was young. Thank you for teaching these values to the young generation 🙏👏 I really believe empathy and education can change the world. ♥" Another shared, "I like that you are teaching children about consent. I have talked about it with my two little boys and it's important to talk about this at a young age. It also helps them understand setting up boundaries. It is very important to teach all children about this."

The chart is just the first of various lessons on consent that Kleinrock, who CNN reports has a background in social and emotional learning, has brought into her classroom. On October 3, she shared another lesson, writing, "Today we discussed the difference between secrets and surprises, and differentiated between information you should share, and what you shouldn’t share. As always, I’m striving to reflect and improve my lessons and practice, and I feel good that my kids walked away today knowing these differences."

Kleinrock's school, Citizens of the World Charter School in Los Angeles, is "very supportive of her lessons," she tells CNN. "Social conduct is very important to the school's policy, as well as teaching inclusion and diversity. They make sure that we teach this equally to subjects like math or writing," she notes.

Although some parents on Instagram expressed concerns over the lessons, taking issue with any sexual nature of the subject matter, Kleinrock stands by her efforts and clarified her goals to CNN: "We are not talking about sexual abuse—we are talking about consent. I think sometimes people have a difficult time with the subject because of the connection between consent and sex. But my goal is to teach about appropriate behavior. ... Parents, caregivers, and educators need to build a partnership. We shouldn't be this divisive when it comes to spreading a message that will benefit our children in the future. Everyone should be respected no matter what."  

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