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 Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.
Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.
Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.
At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.
Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.
The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.
Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
The Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), in partnership with the Virginia Film Office, will offer "Get Your Start in the Film Industry," a two-day seminar designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. The course will be held Oct. 4-5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road in Henrico, on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.
The training will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished assistant director for film and television projects, which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. > Read more.
The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.
“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”
The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.
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