Promoting Erin’s Law for the State of Kansas
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Did you know that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before turning the age of 18? This legislative year, Kansas has failed again to protect our children. House Bill No. 2048, if passed, would have enacted Erin’s Law in the state of Kansas. Our group, Student Advocates for HB 2048, is made up of four Master’s level social workers who are passionate about Erin’s Law. This law will make evidenced-based, age-appropriate, sexual abuse curriculum, mandatory in all public schools, for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Through this law has been in other states and is being implemented in schools, children between the ages of 5 and 18 have come forward about abuse that has happened to them or someone they know, and they have received the proper help to cope with the trauma.
In looking at Kansas, the bill passed as amended in the House on February 14th, 2017. The amendment called for teacher training and education of childhood sexual abuse, but did not state that it was mandatory to teach a curriculum to students. The amended bill was then referred to the Senate Committee on Education on February 15th, 2017. No further actions were taken on this bill and the bill is currently dead for this year. This bill has been introduced to Kansas legislators since the 2013 legislative year.
The Founder of Erin’s Law, Erin Merryn plans on meeting with The Kansas State Board of Education who fully supports this enacting this bill into law. We know that while The Board of Education supporting this law is a positive situation, the members of the board could potentially change every two years. This is why Erin’s Law must be passed at a legislative level. We must help support the children of Kansas and The Board of Education by advocating for this law to pass the next Legislative Session. This law will be introduced in Kansas again and it is up to us, as constituents of this state, to fight to help educate and protect our children.
Erin's law is championed by Erin Merryn, childhood sexual abuse survivor turned author, speaker, child advocate and activist. "Erin Merryn is the founder and president of Erin’s Law. Erin suffered through six years of childhood sexual abuse without her parents having knowledge of the encounters. A survivor of rape by an uncle, from age 6-8 and additionally, incest by an older cousin from age 11-13. When she was 13, she broke the silence at a Children’s Advocacy Center and reclaimed her voice. Erin is now on a mission to persuade all 50 states to pass Erin’s Law, which mandates that all public schools use age-appropriate curricula to teach students how to recognize sexual abuse and reach out to an adult."
Our group wants to raise consciousness in Kansas about the importance of Erin’s Law so that when this bill gets introduced in the next legislative year, there will be more momentum and pressure to pass it. We need to educate our students and not just our teachers. By signing this petition, our advocacy will have the momentum we need to reach the Committee on Education and Members of the Senate. Help us bring attention to this very important issue and protect Kansas Children.
Video and Erin's personal story obtained from www.erinslaw.org
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