Catholic elementary students to get abuse prevention lessons - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Catholic elementary students to get abuse prevention lessons

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This year, along with reading, math and science, some of your students will get a lesson that could have a much more immediate impact. This year, along with reading, math and science, some of your students will get a lesson that could have a much more immediate impact.
Brittany Cox (Source: WAVE 3 News) Brittany Cox (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Leisa Schulz  (Source: WAVE 3 News) Leisa Schulz (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - This year, along with reading, math and science, some of your students will get a lesson that could have a much more immediate impact. It's a different way to get children and their teachers to recognize abuse. This training makes it clear, all of us need our eyes open.

Everything's cleaned up, set up and ready for children to open the books at St. Michael School in Jeffersontown. Over the past few weeks though, the real eye opening lessons have been for your child's teacher.

"It is the most important part of what we do because if a kid is not safe, they can't learn anything," said St. Michael counselor Brittany Cox.

For the first time this year, thanks to a grant from Jefferson County based abuse prevention group Face It, all Louisville Catholic first and sixth grade classrooms will get the lesson: Speak Up, Be Safe. It's training for teachers on how to recognize the signs of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and how to share that with their students.

"It's not something I think that all schools do, but I think it is extremely important," Cox said.

Cox says St. Michael started the program last year and she sees it working.

"I find that students come to me when they see signs in their classmates," she said, "and I always tell them, you know, 'I'm the adult, that means you don't have to take on these problems yet.'"

Louisville Archdiocese School Superintendent Leisa Schulz says since the early 2000s, local catholic schools have incorporated some sort of abuse awareness into curriculum, but Speak Up includes bullying and technology threats.

If you think that abuse isn't something you or your child needs to know how to recognize, Schulz said, "We may think, 'Oh it happens to someone else and not to anyone that I know.' I think we need to understand the reality that yes it can and it does happen."

This is not the first time abuse has been on teachers' radars. All teachers are required by law to learn about the signs and report suspected abuse.

For more on what you can do to help end child abuse in Jefferson County, click here.

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