Some question source of sexual abuse training in schools

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Some people said they’re concerned about the kind of sexual abuse training kids are getting in school. They are specifically talking about Danville School District 118 where the Survivor Resource Center does not provide training, but the resource center does provide it to schools throughout Vermilion, Edgar and Clark counties.

The school district said they already have the people they need to offer that training. That includes psychiatrists, social workers, and psychologists. However, some feel that training should come from outside the district.

“We’ve had parents and concerned citizens call us and wonder if there programming in their child’s school,” said Survivor Resource Center Executive Director Marcie Sheridan.

Sheridan knows how important it is that kids learn about the signs of sexual abuse early on. That’s why educators at her center offer that training to students of all ages.

“We have a K-5 program that’s based on second step, and that’s basically social emotional learning, that’s teaching how to identify feelings,” said Survivor Resource Center Prevention Educator Stacey Quick. “The junior high and high school, we focus on healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships, consent, what does it look like when it is a healthy relationship.”

How that training looks is a concern for some in the Danville area, who asked why the Survivor Resource Center was not offering that training in Danville schools. We decided to look into it and reached out to the school district. They explained the reason they don’t use the resource center’s services is because they have what they need in-house. Superintendent Dr. Alicia Geddis provided the following statement:

“Because we are offering and have continued to expand our services, I believe our children are being provided with the opportunity to tell us when someone has hurt them, and we are dealing with those issues head-on. The board of education continues to push to provide mental health services for our children so that we can address the needs of the whole child.”

All can agree that what’s important is that students meet with someone who is educated on the issue and is trustworthy.

“We want to bring awareness that this is a problem and that there is a way to prevent it through prevention education,” said Quick.

All schools in Illinois are required to provide sexual abuse prevention education per Erin’s Law. As of this year, they also have to provide information on consent to middle and high school students. The Survivor Resource Center’s hotline 1-866-617-3224 and is available 24-7. They can be reached during normal business hours at (217) 446-1337. Anyone who needs support related to sexual abuse can call. Their services are free.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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