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.”
The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.
The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)
The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.
For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.
The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.
The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.
Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise
Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.
They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.
As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.
Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.
There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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