Ashland School District provides an age-appropriate, comprehensive plan of instruction focusing on human sexuality education, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections and disease prevention in elementary and secondary schools as an integral part of health education and other subjects. Developmentally appropriate instruction in abuse prevention is integral to the program.
In our elementary programs, students learn about interpersonal boundaries and sexual abuse prevention through programs like “Second Steps,” which includes aspects of healthy relationships including setting boundaries, making friends, being respectful and other relevant skills. Science and health units are also designed to provide general knowledge of human reproduction and sexuality as a part of normal human development. Regular classroom teachers and child development specialists share in the instructional efforts.
Recently, Ashland School District established an agreement with Jackson County SART (Sexual Abuse Response Team) to provide four sessions of abuse prevention instruction in grade levels K-5 annually as a response to the passage of Erin’s Law. We are excited about the partnership, expertise and curriculum materials they offer. SART staff will be offering two sessions at each grade level, with follow up lessons by classroom teachers and child development specialists.
At middle and high, all students participate in health classes that cover a range of topics including inter-personal boundaries, sexual health, healthy relationships, setting boundaries, and more. Historically, the curriculum has been presented in health classes for grades 6-8, and grades 9 and 11. Starting this year, every grade level from 6 through 12 will receive roughly four or more hours of instruction in sexual abuse prevention, primarily through their health classes.
To assure all grade levels receive the prevention instruction required under Erin’s Law starting this year, tenth graders will do a novel study that focuses on the same instructional issues in a context designed to generate discussion and challenge preconceptions or misconceptions around appropriate sexual boundaries. Senior students will participate in abuse prevention curriculum as part of their required Senior Seminar.
Some critical components of the curriculum include the following:
Teaches the characteristics of the emotional, physical and psychological aspects of a healthy relationship;
Teaches that no form of sexual expression, or behavior is acceptable when it physically or emotionally harms oneself or others and that it is wrong to take advantage of or exploit another person;
Teaches that consent is an essential component of healthy sexual behavior;
Teaches and encourages active student bystander intervention behavior;
Teaches students how to identify and respond to attitudes and behaviors which contribute to sexual violence;
Validates through course material and instruction the importance of honesty with oneself and others, respect for each person’s dignity and well-being, and responsibility for one’s actions;
Uses inclusive materials, language, and strategies that recognizes different sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expression.
In addition to student education, the District supports both parent and staff education as tools in addressing sexual violence.
The schools offer parent nights including annual presentations by SART at AHS and AMS. Bellview hosted an evening for parents in fall 2016 with the Children’s Advocacy Center earlier this year where parents from all sites were invited to attend.
All staff participate in mandatory abuse reporting, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment education annually. This year, K-5 staff participated in a two-hour instructional program with the Children’s Advocacy Center on sexual abuse and violence prevention.
The district wants you to know that we are dedicated to stopping sexual violence before it occurs by raising healthy teens in a climate of safety and mutual respect. We are dedicated to a safe and compassionate reporting process that is survivor driven. And we are dedicated to continued efforts to stop sexual violence and promote healthy relationships. Above all, we value the interest of the community and any partnership that can help with these important tasks.