January 21, 2022
“Two guys [were] walking by my SGA campaign poster, and [one] was saying not to vote for me because I was a slut.”
“Boys sports teams are favored more [than girls’]teams at East.”
“There was a male student that said females in STEM deserve to make less because they are choosing a male-dominated field…Another male student said ‘women belong in the kitchen’ when scoring worse on a test than me, a female. And there are more instances than just these…”
What is referred to as “more instances,” are the interactions that foster a school environment that around one in three (33.9 percent) students feel is a sexist one. Among the students surveyed, 39.2 percent of females, and a smaller 17.3 percent of males, believe East is a sexist environment.
“I think it is just so accepted and normalized that when it happens, nobody speaks up… you just ignore it or push it out of [your] mind and move on,” said Anna Neubauer (‘23).
Neubauer said she has recognized, witnessed, and experienced sexism in many forms at East, with some prime examples emerging from East’s dress code.
“A lot of people have gotten dress-coded; they’ve been told really inappropriate things by teachers [about] things they shouldn’t be wearing or what they should be wearing,” Neubauer said referring to her findings in a poll she recently conducted on her Instagram account about dress code at East.
Another concern students expressed about sexism at East regarded sports teams. Specifically, some students said that boys’ sports teams receive more support than girls’ teams.
Speaking about students who make that claim, Perry said “I agree with them.” He said that the sizes of crowds at boys’ games are often larger, exhibiting a disparity in levels of support. Moreover, he called the Cherry Hill East Countrymen, a student fan group a “perfect example” of this problem. The group encourages students to cheer on, and attend games for boys’ sports teams at East, but does not do so for girls’ teams. With 86 posts on their Instagram page since November of 2019, they have never dedicated a post to garnering support for an East girls’ sports team (as of December 16, 2021).
If you are facing discrimination at East, administrators urge you to report it, including through the anonymous StopIt app. You can also talk to your guidance counselor in A-wing.”
Crystal Yeh (‘24), East’s current sophomore class president, said she thinks East students do not know where to go when they experience sexism, with some not even knowing they have a grade-level principal. In Eastside’s survey, it was found that more than one in four students (29.4 percent) feel that they do not have a trusted adult at school with whom they can talk.
Jennifer DiStefano, the Student Assistance Counselor at East, even said that when a student needs support and their teacher says to go see her, students say, “Who’s that?” She added, however, that she has told students what she does repeatedly through class meetings and attending all of the orientations.
“You just forget you don’t need us. It’s when you need us is when you find us,” she said.