Teen dating violence programs heading to classrooms

By Krystal Allan – bio | email

National statistics show one out of every five girls is physically or sexually hurt by someone their dating.

"People don't realize that what's happening to them is indeed abusive, so they'll be sitting in class and when they hear one of those messages, it's like whoa, wait a minute, that's happening to me," says Cindy Ward of the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Non-Violence.

Three high schools in Mississippi will start incorporating teen dating violence education into daily lessons plans.  Ward says the lessons will make teens more aware of what to look for when it comes to abuse, especially when it technology is involved.

"The guy might text the girl 25 times in a hour. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? The texting and the sexting. It's not cute. It's not funny. It's very very dangerous," Ward says.

Ward also sees the program as an opportunity for teens in abusive relationships to turn to another source for help.

"It will give students in an abusive relationship a safety net. They can go talk to that teacher," Ward says.

Pearl High School will host a kickoff event for the program at 9:30 Monday morning. The high school's multimedia class is also working on a brochure, film clip and power point to air on Comcast Cable Channel 18.

Corinth and Stone High schools will also serve as pilot schools for the program.  The state Attorney General's office says it hopes to get the program in schools statewide.

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