Report Released on Relationship Education for Middle School StudentsNo Comments
In effort to decrease the number of women who experience physical and sexual assault in relationships, a diverse group that includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and federal lawmakers are educating Middle School students about healthy relationships before they start dating. The Violence Against Women Act has announced that the eligibility age for dating violence education and service programs is now as young as 11.
New York Times reporter Jan Hoffman explored middle school programs working to stop dating violence. She focused on Start Strong Idaho, one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships grantees, which targets 11- to 14-year-olds and engages the entire community in innovative ways to promote healthy relationships and stop dating violence and abuse before it starts.
Their intervention efforts include event like the “ChalkHeart” competition where poetry written by students was submitted and distributed themed around relationships, equality and respect. The goal is to teach students what a healthy relationship means and encourage parents and caring adults to intentionally engage with their student’s on these intimate topics so they do not experience or become victim to physical dating violence.
In Southern California, Soledad Enrichment Action, Inc. (SEA) Education Centers provide high-risk youth alternative schooling and programs to prevent youth involvement in gangs, drugs and violence. “By the time we receive the youth in our program, around 80% of them have been or known a close relative or friend that has been a victim or an abuser of dating violence or sexual assault. Sadly for many of these youth, they consider this the norm. Some even glorify it because of what they see on television and in the movies with sport stars and music icons that they admire. It will be to a great benefit to start teaching the youth about lasting and healthy relationships before they reach high school and start dating,” says Martin Bautista, Executive Director of SEA’s Community Support Services Organization.
For more information and the complete New York Times article, read: A Warning to Teenagers Before they Start Dating .
For more information on Soledad Enrichment Action, INC. (SEA) visit their website.
Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in collaboration with the Blue Shield of California Foundation and Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund).