South Carolina schools implement sexual abuse curriculum

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina schools will implement a new curriculum this year about sexual abuse.

Governor Nikki Haley signed Erin’s Law in 2014, named after childhood sexual abuse survivor Erin Merryn. The law requires schools teach students what sexual abuse is and how to report it.

New Directions Executive Director Kathy Jenkins works closely with victims of abuse.

“The younger they are, the harder it is for them to articulate what their issues are,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins said education is an important part of prevention. “The sooner that we get the children educated, the sooner they recognize the little signs,” she said.

Erin’s Law requires that all public schools implement a sexual abuse program which teaches:

  1. Students in grades preK – 12th grade how to recognize child sexual abuse and tell a trusted adult
  2. School personnel all about child sexual abuse
  3. Parents & guardians the warning signs of child sexual abuse, plus needed assistance, referral or resource information to support sexually abused children and their families

Horry County Schools Director of Health and Safety Services Tammy Trulove said the curriculum will be age appropriate.

“Using language and using illustrations that are on their level,” stated Trulove.

For example, teachers will use teddy bears to point out private parts or ask students to show a thumbs up for touches they like and a thumbs down for touches they don’t like.

The curriculum also requires school employees to report incidents immediately to police or DSS. Teachers will attend professional development workshops in August and September.

“It is a very difficult subject to try to communicate to children,” explained Trulove.

South Carolina is one of 26 states to pass Erin’s law. Governor Haley also signed a bill in June that would require schools teach domestic violence. That will go into effect during the 2016-17 school year.

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