State PTA Endorses Darkness To Light Sexual Abuse Training

Categories: Other, Success Stories

CBS 7 Spartanburg
Columbia, SC —

A state initiative to train teachers and school employees how to prevent child sexual abuse has gained endorsement and financial support from the South Carolina Parent Teacher Association.

The PTAs board unanimously voted to partner with the South Carolina Department of Education to promote the Darkness to Light program that is setting a national record for child safety efforts among American school systems. The board also voted to fund training for 30 participants at the state PTA convention in April.

This is the first step in garnering advocacy and financial support from local school PTA organizations, said Amy Brewer, vice president for SCPTA membership and field services. The goal is to make every school in South Carolina a safe haven for students. We are looking forward to a long and productive relationship working for every child with one voice.

Darkness to Lights Stewards of Children training is a two-and-a-half hour course designed for organizations that serve children and youth and includes 7 Steps to Protecting Our Children, the core educational tool for sexual abuse prevention.

It was named National Crime Prevention Program of the Year in 2007. Almost 20,000 teachers and school employees took the course in 2009. By the end of this year, its anticipated that more than 38,000 education staff members will complete training, about 75 percent of the states school workforce.

State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said the ongoing program is critical because it arms educators with the skills they need to recognize and address potential problems before children are hurt.

Since 2008 Rex and the State Board of Education have supported a heightened culture of safety and security in South Carolinas public schools. State Board member Amelia Herlong expressed her appreciation for the PTAs involvement.

It is essential that all school personnel be trained in the Darkness to Light program, Herlong said. This announcement signals that the work will continue to move forward and that more and more children will be protected.

Our partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education has been amazing, said Darkness to Light founder and CEO Ann Lee, who also called PTA support key for the statewide initiative.

Through this partnership, the SCPTA will be making an investment to train all employees within our schools bus drivers, teacher aids, cafeteria workers and administrators on how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to our children being sexually violated, Lee said. This is a huge step forward.

Previous partnerships for the training program have included Select Health of South Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina and the South Carolina School Boards Insurance Trust.

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