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.”
Citizen Staff Reports 12/16/2013
Virginia Blood Services (VBS), the sole supplier of blood for more than 20 hospitals throughout the state of Virginia, is in need of blood donors to help replenish the local blood supply over the holidays.
A decline in blood donations is typical during the winter months as people become busy with holiday activities and travel. Patient needs remain steady, however, making it important for people to visit a VBS donor site or mobile drive to give blood. > Read more.
In Varina, one of the most anticipated events of the season is approaching. The 19th Annual Big Toy Parade will return on Dec 14, offering a “homey,” small-town feel that helps elicit holiday spirit among participants and spectators alike.
The parade, which begins at 3 p.m., is sponsored by the Battlefield Ruritans and Henrico County Parks and Recreation and is held in conjunction with the James River Boat Parade. It is led by a grand marshal along Old Osborne Turnpike and ends at the Osborne Boat Landing, where hundreds of community members gather to await nightfall and the arrival of lighted boats, concluding a festive holiday celebration. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 12/03/2013
The region's two premier youth soccer organizations – the Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers – have partnered to create Richmond United, a cost-free U.S. Soccer Development Academy program designed to serve the most talented players in the region. The arrangement marks the first time in U.S. Soccer Development Academy history that two member clubs have united their respective Academy programs.
Slated to begin play in the fall of 2014, Richmond United will field U13/14, U15/16 and U17/18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. The teams will train and play home games at two of the top soccer specific complexes in the nation, Ukrop Park and Striker Park. > Read more.
It’s the final weekend before Christmas – but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare! Relax with half-a-million twinkling lights, enjoy Theatre IV on Tour’s production of “A Christmas Carol” or experience the 11th annual “Miracle of Christmas – Live at the Metro Richmond Zoo.” Another way to relax before the Big Day is with a good book. You can find a vast array of books, covering many genres, and meet authors at the Celebrate with a Book event on Saturday. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
A number of Henrico students are performing in the Richmond Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, which runs through Dec. 23. Pictured above, left to right are: back row – Elizabeth Sjovald (Mother Ginger), Deema Meguid, Maya Link (Mogi top) and Sophie Rounds (Mother Ginger) and front row – Sarah Echols (Chinese) and Carter Echols (Chinese). > Read more.
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