As you may be aware, a New York State law known as Erin's Law (C.18A:35-4.5a) requires public schools to teach child sexual abuse and exploitation prevention classes to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Erin's Law is named for Erin Merryn, an abuse survivor and activist against child sexual abuse who has advocated for similar laws nationwide for over a decade. Erin’s Law is intended to help children, teachers, and parents in New Jersey schools identify sexual abuse, and to provide awareness, assistance, referral, or resource information for children and families who are victims of child sexual abuse. This is done across the grade levels by our certified health instructors. We also supplement with counselor meetings and outside resources such as our yearly assembly with the Camden County Prosecutors office.
Why do we need this program – is there a problem here in our District/Community/School?
There is not a specific problem in our school district. However, the problems addressed in the curriculum, like bullying and abuse, exist. The goal is to prevent these problems before they happen.
What exactly is covered in the curriculum?
The goal of the program is to help keep your child safe. The program empowers children to spot and respond to bullying, cyberbullying, child abuse, and digital dangers. Most importantly, it teaches that adults are responsible for children’s safety. The program is based on the latest research and has been reviewed and endorsed by national experts. The curriculum focuses on teaching children to rely on safe adults for support. Lessons are taught using age-appropriate language, fun games and activities, as well as take-home items as reminders of the lessons. Attached below is information regarding what will be taught, as well as resources for parents to use with their students at home:
Here are some sample lessons:
- Safety Connection: Parent Information Sheets
How are families involved?
Family involvement is key to the success of preventing child abuse. Communication from parents on our many committees and day to day interactions help us plan and teach effectively. Our district values the ongoing partnership that we share with our families.
Why do schools need to be involved in a prevention program?
Research shows, and our district agrees, that everyone benefits when children are safe. Children who are safe have higher grades in school, have better attendance, and enjoy healthier, happier, and more productive lives.
Who do families contact if they have more questions?
If a family has more questions, they can reach out to the principal Paul Sorrentino by calling the main office or emailing.
We look forward to partnering with families in sharing this information with students and keeping them safe!