Erin's Law (House Bill 72)

Many states, including Maryland, in the past several years have passed laws with the intent of increasing the awareness of child sexual abuse and assault. You may have heard of this legislation under its more common name, Erin's Law (House Bill 72), in honor of Erin Merryn, a brave young woman who has crossed the country advocating for laws that will increase awareness of this crime against children. One of the requirements of this law is that schools provide an age-appropriate curriculum to all students relating to sexual abuse prevention, which may include a variety of discussions, activities, videos and role play scenarios. The purpose of the lessons is to provide students with tools needed for personal safety, and to provide a nurturing and caring environment open for disclosure of any incidents. This law took effect in the 2017-18 school year, and is taught by school counselors and health teachers. Lessons are taught in all grade levels PreK4 through high school, to ALL students, allowing us to meet the requirements of Erin’s Law. The following concepts will be discussed:

Grades PreK-5
What a trusted adult is; identifying a trusted adult in one’s life; knowing what to do when students feel unsafe. Defining safe and unsafe touch, body boundaries and empowering students to say NO! In later elementary grades, students will also learn what sexual harassment is, how to identify an imbalance of power and the concept that anyone can be the victim of sexual abuse. 

Grades 6-8
What do grooming behaviors look like, learning refusal skills, the ‘Think, Feel, Act’ strategy, balance of power in relationships, and learning about safe and unsafe relationships both with strangers, family and peers. They also learn how to be an advocate for a friend who may be a victim of sexual abuse and coping strategies if they have been a victim. 

Grades 9-12
Learning about dating violence; what to do if they are a victim of abuse; healthy and unhealthy decisions; interpersonal communication skills they can learn to help keep them out of harm’s way.

In grades PreK4-8, the lessons will be taught by a certified School Counselor. In the high schools, the 9-12 lessons will be integrated into the Personal Fitness/Health Class, taught by the health teachers.

Nationwide, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be the victim of child sexual abuse by the age of 18. Through this program, aimed at educating and empowering students, we want to provide your student with the knowledge and skills to use if ever affected by sexual violence. Worcester County believes that all of our students will benefit from participating in this program.

If you have any questions about the content of the program, please feel free to contact Ms. Nicole Selby, Student Services, at 410-632-5079 or Mrs. Tamara Mills, Coordinator of Instruction at 410-632-5031.