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BEND, OR -- Local school districts making changes to how they educate students about sexual abuse. KIDS Center Prevention Coordinator Kim Bohme is working with a number of Central Oregon school districts to help develop new curriculum in response to a law passed by the 2015 Legislature. She admits it’s taken the nine months since Erin’s Law was approved to work through the process. "That’s what I really appreciate with the schools is that they’ve taken a really thoughtful, strategic approach to looking at what they currently do, seeing where their deficits are and then taking a thoughtful approach to saying ‘what now, before the end of the school year, can we do to implement and meet the law that we need to be meeting?’"

 

Bohme tells KBND News, "All schools are required to develop and adopt child sexual abuse prevention curriculum for students kindergarten through twelfth grade, for all public Oregon schools." But, she says the new law is more extensive than previous efforts. "Past laws have only required information for students. Now, with this law, there’s a recommendation for students, parents and staff. There’s a three-tier approach that schools really have to look at: ‘what are we training our staff? What are we training our students and what are we teaching our parents?’"

 
For students, Bohme says, "There needs to be four sessions per school year for each grade level. That’s going to be a big change; a lot of times it was done in one session. And very detailed components of what that means: They need to talk about education on safe touch and unsafe touch, how to escape and report a child sexual abuse situation, measurable outcomes – we want to make sure we’re being effective in teaching and educating students." And, she says most districts are finding their current programs leave big gaps for high school students.

 

Staff will be trained on more than just their obligations as a "mandatory reporter." And, for parents, Bohme says, "Now, schools have to provide information on the characteristics of offenders, what grooming behaviors look like and how to discuss child sexual abuse prevention with their own children." She says most districts are narrowing in on their options in an effort to have programs in place before the end of this school year. 

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