I was working with some students in 2005 who were trying to get a reign on the disruptive military recruiting that was going on in their high schools. I testified to the school board along with several other community leaders, parents and students about the issues involved. One young 16 year old female student went up and testified that she was the victim of sexual harrassment at the hands of recruiters in the hallways of her school as she was trying to get to class.
She stated that the recruiter in an attempt to get young girls over to the table was making really inappropriate comments including the one he made to her: "Come on over here and I'll show you my torpedo...". This was a really disgusting story and it infuriated many in the room. What I saw though was a young woman who had the courage to stand up in a packed room in front of the Milwaukee Public School board and tell a story that was not only horrible on it's face, but must have been freightening to tell with fully uniformed recruiters seating only feet behind her. I admired her courage and her outrage. No woman should be subjected to that type of abuse. To have a government official sit in a high school hallway and behave in that manner to minors was outrageous and some may even suggest criminal. Our students deserve a safe and secure environment to learn and the military has no business making our children feel abused in their schools.
How many teenage girls don't speak up? How many learned the lesson that day that male power is uncontestable as a young female? Well, one didn't and not only did she keep walking, but she walked right into a Milwaukee Public School board meeting and said her peace. What a moment for feminism!
So here's where Jeff Spence comes in... A week later at the next meeting, I was talking with Spence in the hallway. He hadn't been at the meeting the previous week and hadn't seen the young people make their public comments or read the transcripts of the meeting. I explained to him this young woman's statements as above and Jeff Spence looked me straight in the eye and said, "Well, you know girls lie about that kind of stuff all the time." and then he smiled at me.
I wanted to take a shower instantly. I now knew all I needed to know about this guy. It was wrong on so many levels, it still boggles my mind.
This was a Milwaukee Public School Board member. Talking about a 16 year old female student. Elected to create a learning environment that is safe and inducive to learning for all students and that was the first thought that came to his mind...
I'm not in that district for the election next week, but I thought before you go to the polls, you should know this story.