Prevention Education at McLean County Elementary Schools
Dear McLean County Families,
Erin's Law, or Illinois Public Act 097-1147, requires public schools to provide child sexual abuse prevention education for children in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As part of Erin’s Law, YWCA Stepping Stones Prevention Educators will be visiting your child’s classroom over the course of the school year to lead a Healthy Relationships curriculum. To read more please visit www.erinslaw.org.
YWCA Prevention Educators use a curriculum adapted from The Second Step Child Protection Unit by Committee for Children (cfchildren.org).
We teach lessons about personal safety, touching safety and safety steps. During our touching safety lessons, students will learn the difference between safe, unsafe, and unwanted touches. Safe touches are touches that keep you safe and make you feel cared for and important, such as hugs, handshakes, high-fives, and fist bumps. Unsafe touches are touches that hurt your body such as punches, kicks, pinches, and pushes. Unwanted touches are touches that might not hurt but are unwanted, such as hugs from strangers.
Your student will also learn “The Touching Rule,” which teaches that no one should touch our private body parts except to keep us clean and healthy. Students are taught that private body parts are the parts of your body covered by a swimsuit. Your student will also learn what to do if someone breaks The Touching Rule, which we call “The Safety Steps.” The Safety Steps include 1. Say words that mean “No!” 2. Get Away and 3. Tell a Safe Adult. An important lesson woven throughout our curriculum is that secrets do not keep us safe and that no one should ever ask you to keep secrets about touching. Educators will also discuss the difference between secrets (unsafe, unwanted touches, etc.) and surprises (birthday parties, etc.).
It is imperative to have these conversations with children. If you have any questions about how to talk with your child about any of these topics, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via our direct contact information provided. We are committed to working together to keep students safe.