Staff report -- TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – State education officials will host a regional training event Friday about teen dating violence and safety in schools.
The event – titled “Teen Dating Violence/Sexual Assault: Creating a Safe Environment at School” – is sponsored by the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana School Safety Academy.
It’s designed to help create a culture of safety in Indiana schools and effectively aid victims of violence and assault, DOE officials said.
The event is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Harrison College in Indianapolis.
“Sexual assault is a very serious issue that affects the well-being of Indiana students,” said state Superintendent Glenda Ritz. “Before any student can learn, he or she first needs to feel safe.”
She said school leaders need to understand “how to identify and help students who are going through these horrible situations. Parents, schools, and communities must work together to ensure that our children can learn and grow in a supportive environment.”
Counselors, nurses, and school safety officers will be in attendance to discuss policy development and legal responsibilities, said Leslie-Ann James, the education agency’s safety academy specialist.
“We hope that those who attend the conference will learn how to implement school safety policies and work with local advocacy groups to raise awareness in their communities,” she said.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Indiana second in the nation in sexual assault against young women. Of Indiana females in 9th-12th grade, 17.3 percent reported being forced to have sexual intercourse, as compared to the national average of 10.5 percent. One in five women in Indiana have been victims of rape at some point within their lifetime, and 18 million women and almost 3 million men in the United States have been raped.