first_imgFOREST GROVE, Ore. — A pair of Oregon school districts were intent on identifying warning signs that students might be contemplating a campus shooting when they stumbled on a threat far more pervasive yet much less discussed — sexual aggression among classmates.Unsure at first what to do, the districts adapted the same early-intervention approach used to handle potential school shooters: Based on observations or tips, school staff now quietly keep an eye on kids they worry are sexually aggressive. Parents help the school try to understand why their child is acting out. And the school intervenes if behavior threatens to escalate, whether the student is a kindergartener or about to graduate.This awakening puts the districts at the forefront of grassroots efforts to grapple with a sensitive and complex challenge that U.S. universities already have been forced to confront but elementary and secondary schools have mostly avoided.A yearlong Associated Press investigation uncovered about 17,000 official reports of sexual assaults by students over a recent four-year period, a figure that doesn’t fully capture the problem because such violence is greatly under-reported and some states don’t track it.AP also found that only 18 states required training for teachers, school administrators or students focused on peer-on-peer sexual assaults, leaving many educators to struggle with both how to protect victims and manage the risk of offenders.last_img read more