Schools to teach about abusive relationships
All public schools in Virginia must follow the state’s Standards of Learning for core courses like math, science and history. Beginning next year, they’ll also have to ensure that students learn about abusive relationships, too.
A bill passed by the General Assembly requires that the SOL objectives on dating violence and abusive relationships be taught at least once during middle school and twice during high school.
Senate Bill 906, sponsored Sen. R. Creigh Deeds of Charlottesville, received unanimous approval from the House and Senate. It now needs Gov. Bob McDonnell’s signature to become law.
The measure builds on a law passed by the assembly in 2007. That year, legislators required the Virginia Board of Education to include “dating violence and the characteristics of abusive relationships” in the state’s family life education curriculum.
SB 906 will ensure that secondary school students are exposed to the material. A 2009 study found that schools already are meeting the intent of the bill.
The legislation grew out of a final project students presented in June for the College Leaders Program at the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. Deeds was one of the judges of the projects.
In their project, Hassan Abdelhalim, Emily Bowles, Christopher Diming, Katherine Hunter, Lena Morrill and Sarah Ulmer presented an outline for what later became SB 906, Deeds said. Then the students asked Deeds to sponsor the measure in the 2011 legislative session.
“They not only pestered me and got in touch with me and attained my commitment,” Deeds said. They also “showed up at all of the committee meetings, and they were dead serious about this.”
Tragedies like the killing of U.Va. student Yeardley Love last year have underscored the need for education about abusive relationships. Authorities have charged Love’s former boyfriend with her murder.
But some educators wonder if mandating SOLs on relationship issues is a bit much.
“I think it overreaches, but almost all the SOLs of late are of the same caliber. The public schools are asked to solve every problem – to cover every possible contingency – and this is just another thing that has been added,” said Kitty Boitnott, president of the Virginia Education Association.
But Boitnott added: “Let’s face it – SOLs drive everything in the classroom. So if it wasn’t part of an SOL, it probably wouldn’t be taught.”
Dr. Even Alexander, a New York Times best-selling author who has been featured on Oprah and Dr. Oz, was in town last week to promote his June 27 talk, "Proof of Heaven," at Glen Allen High School.
Alexander (pictured, at right, while Unity of Bon Air church member Harry Simmons interviews him) has written about what he considers to be his journey through the afterlife.
Tickets to this month's event are $25 and will support the new Bon Secours Hospice House being built later this year. > Read more.
The Innsbrook Rotary Club, which is celebrating its 25th year in 2015, has completed a number of volunteer projects this year and raised thousands of dollars for various organizations through three events.
The club's annual rose sale, benefit for youth live auction and Virginia Fire Games competition, combined with individual and corporate donations, have raised nearly $70,000 – money that the club contributes back to the community.
FeedMore is the beneficiary of the club's 25th anniversary project, which provides refrigerated trailers to be used for the distribution of food throughout Central Virginia. > Read more.
Chef Bryan Voltaggio will host a special three-course dinner event July 21-22 at his Willow Lawn Family Meal restaurant. The menu will consist of his favorite dishes and offer diners the chance to purchase a signed copy of his newly released book, HOME.
Voltaggio will attend and cook at each dinner, as well as share stories that inspired recipes for the book. > Read more.
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