Sexual harassment cases decrease in Orange County schools

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County Public Schools said its efforts to curb sexual harassment claims among students have been successful.

In the 2011-2012 school year, district officials said there were 102 cases of sexual harassment reported, prompting them to crack down on the issue.

"One of the things we did was purchase a video called Flirting or Hurting," said Kathy Marsh, spokesperson for Orange County Public Schools.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the number of sexual harassment cases was down to 85, and so far this year there's been only 31 cases reported.

The video is a big part of the success, school leaders said. It helps to educate student on what sexual harassment really is. Deaaron Taylor, a 10th-grader, still remembers the lessons he learned about sexual harassment.

"They told us not to do it and that it's wrong and that you can go to jail for it," Taylor said.

Marsh said having fewer sexual harassment cases is a win for faculty and students.

"They're not ending up in suspension, they're learning because they're still in the classroom," Marsh said.

Parent Joanie Vilar, whose son will eventually be in an Orange County classroom, was glad to hear about the efforts by the school district.

"I think it makes perfect sense and I'm not surprised by it," Vilar said. "Before he goes to school it would be nice to have all these policies already tested and in placed."

Officials said the efforts at reducing sexual harassment cases will continue and they hope to decrease the numbers each year.