GA elementary students to begin learning about preventing sexual abuse

VIDEO: GA elementary students to begin learning about preventing sexual abuse

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Starting this fall, public school students across Georgia, including those in Kindergarten, will begin learning about preventing sexual abuse in the classroom.

This comes after state lawmakers approved this measure in a recent education bill.

The state Senate bill, which passed just this year, will impact millions of public school students and their parents. Lawmakers hope children will learn how to protect themselves and others from sexual abuse at younger ages.

"I think as early as children can understand, they need to be aware that they need to protect themselves," says mother of two Sonia Stevenson.

Georgia public schools will play their newest part in educating the next generation about these dangers through Senate Bill 401.

"We do our best to try and get it across to him," says father of two young boys, Paul Hedden. "Him being six years old, sometimes it's a little difficult trying to figure out the right wording so he can understand."

The bill brings mandatory sexual abuse awareness and prevention education to 1.3 million students across Georgia, ranging from as young as Kindergarten up to ninth grade.

Both Stevenson and Hedden say they welcome the school district eventually implementing age-appropriate methods to teach the subject using trained professionals.

"I think that there should be some type of standard or guideline, for them to all go along and follow," says Stevenson.

"I agree with it being implemented in school, by a trained professional who deals with kids and knows how to come down to their level, get them to understand and respect their own selves and other children," says Hedden.

Lawmakers crafted this law using what is known as Erin's Law, which is named after an Illinois woman who was sexually abused as a child, to have trained professionals talk to young students at an age-appropriate level.

Georgia is the 35th state in the U.S. to adopt this type of legislation.

A source with the Muscogee County School District says top officials will look at an evidence-based curriculum to give the students the best possible information.

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