Respect(Ed) was conceived in 2015 by then high school students Maya Corral and Zoë Pringle.
Corral and Pringle knew the minimal time spent on sex education in health classes was not enough
to address the prevalence of sexual violence, particularly among high school and college students.
They worked together with health teachers and school counselors to draft a comprehensive consent
and sexuality curriculum to implement at their school. That year, trained student educators
presented to over 300 students. More than a quarter of those students surveyed said it was
their first time receiving formal education on these topics.
Over the next several years, Respect(Ed) leaders gathered data, listened to feedback, and revised their approach until eventually an expanded, tried-and-trusted program emerged: a series of four presentations addressing sexual harassment and assault, consent and healthy relationships, gender and sexuality, and normalized violence and bystander intervention. The curriculum engages participants by centering discussion, interaction, and anonymous questions. It is grounded in real-world situations, and challenges students to think about their own personal boundaries and beliefs. It was designed to comply with Erin's Law and fulfills many state educational standards as well.
By the time Corral and Pringle graduated, all 1600 students at their school had benefited from Respect(Ed) presentations. In 2019, directors Jesse Pearce and Jade Pfaefflin Bounds recognized the program’s potential for expansion. As peer educators, they had seen firsthand how quickly youth perspectives can be disregarded in education. They wanted to provide students with the resources and advocacy to ensure their voices are heard. So, together with past leadership, they turned the program into a nonprofit organization. As a nonprofit, Respect(Ed) is able to provide youth peer educators with the proper funding and organizational backing to continue this work in the long run.
During the 2020 Covid pandemic, Respect(Ed) faced the challenge of adapting our model of education to the world of online learning. What emerged was Sex(Ed): online consent and sexuality programming that provides participants with some needed flexibility during these uncertain times.
Today, we continue to support our student educators in the classroom (whether virtual or in-person) even as we take on new projects and broaden our reach.
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