In 2016, the Alabama legislature passed Erin’s Law with the intent of increasing awareness of child sexual abuse. Erin’s Law is in honor of Erin Merryn, a young woman who advocated for this law to address the silence and stigma around child sexual abuse, educate children, and empower them to recognize and report abuse. For more information on Erin’s Law, please visit www.erinslaw.org.
Erin’s Law requires training for all school faculty and staff and mandates all schools implement an age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention curriculum to students in grades K-12. Vestavia Hills City Schools partners with Children’s Hospital Intervention and Prevention Services (CHIPS) to deliver the curriculum to students in 2nd, 4th, and 7th, grades and in Health classes at Vestavia Hills High School. This program is aimed at educating and empowering students to provide them with the knowledge and skills to use if ever affected by sexual abuse. The CHIPS Center provides services to children and families dealing with abuse, and they also work with the community to educate adults and children on strategies to prevent abuse. The CHIPS presentations teach students to develop a plan of what to do if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.
Vestavia Hills City Schools and CHIPS have provided a parent awareness video. CHIPS will provide four books to students in 2nd and 4th grades; the books are available for review at your student’s elementary school. The CHIPS presentation for middle and high school students focuses on empowering teenagers to recognize sexually abusive relationships and ways to get help if needed. Topics including healthy boundaries and limits, personal safety, bullying, and internet safety are also discussed with students in the 7th grade and in the high school Health class.
If you have any questions about the program, please contact Debra Schneider (205-678-2752), Executive Director, CHIPS; Jennifer Bailey (205-402-5100), Vestavia Hills City Schools Director of Student Services; or your student’s principal or counselor.