According to RAINN, teen girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. And as if the increased likelihood of sexual assault wasn't bad enough, many high school students are bombarded with reminders about their lack of security. Some are even reminded of the dangers through their homework.

Yes, really.

A teacher at Klein Collins High School in Spring, Texas is in hot water after giving 9th grade students a take-home test on a recent lesson on DNA. Students were asked to figure out who "raped Suzy" by studying DNA evidence results taken from the scene of the crime.

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Being an educator in the American public school system is one of the hardest jobs in our nation. Not only is the work itself challenging, but with constant battles for educational funding and a student body increasingly tethered to their electronic devices, most teachers in America and around the world are navigating uncharted territory when it comes to finding ways to keep their students engaged in their studies.

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Sometimes we can get caught up in a seemingly feel-good story and miss that it might have a dark side. An article I wrote recently praising a middle school teacher's "baggage activity" is a perfect, personal example of this. I saw that the post had been shared widely, looked at the activity through my own lens as a former teacher and current parent of teens, and missed the red flags that those trained in trauma saw in it.

The viral post, shared by a veteran teacher, explained how she had her students write down the emotional baggage they were carrying around, wad up the papers, and toss them across the room. Each student then picked up a random paper and read it to the class. Students could share if they wrote it or remain anonymous. The teacher described how the students were moved by the activity, and how she felt it helped them develop empathy for one another. The bag of wadded papers hangs by the door to remind students "they are not alone, they are loved, and we have each other's back."

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Reading out loud is terrifying for many students.

I’ll never forget the heart palpitations I had in grade school while counting the students and realizing I'd have to read in front of them soon.

Reading to myself was great. But transferring school districts early in my education left me with little understanding of how phonics worked. The fear of struggling to sound out (and even spell) words aloud became the source of my academic nightmares.

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