Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Florida Schools Have the Opportunity to Help Keep Kids Safe with Speak Up Be Safe™ Program!

Internet sex sting operations are nothing new. Yet again, there was another news story recently and sadly one of the arrests was a 5th grade teacher at Lawton Chiles Elementary School in Orlando.  While there is no report that this teacher ever harmed a child at that school, this type of report always raises a concern about sexually abusive behavior for parents and school personnel.

So the question then becomes what do we do to make sure our kids are safe at school? All Florida elementary schools, including Orange County Schools, have a prevention program available to them at no cost that may help prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

Speak Up Be Safe™ (SUBS) is a national bullying and child abuse prevention program that teaches kids what is safe and unsafe behavior.  The program also teaches kids to use the 5 SUBS Safety Rules which include:

1)    It’s my body
2)    Ask an adult if I’m safe
3)    I have choices
4)    Tell Someone
5)    It’s never my fault.

Additionally, facilitators (generally guidance counselors) are trained in topics such as:

·      Child abuse indicators
·      Recognizing signs of sexual abuse, exploitation and grooming behaviors
·      Mandatory reporting
·      Bullying, Cyberbullying and digital abuse

and they are given tools and resources to further educate their school peers and personnel as well as parents.  Using the knowledge gained in their training and the resources they are given, school personnel are informed and empowered and would hopefully recognize any attempt by a teacher or other adult to sexually exploit or abuse a child. Children, armed with the information provided in the curriculum, would also hopefully recognize unsafe behaviors by an adult and would rely on the 5 SUBS safety rules to have the adults in their lives help them be safe!

For additional training or for middle and high schools where SUBS is not available, another safety program exists. You can find more information here.  Together, the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Inc., and Florida’s schools, can protect Florida’s children now! Visit our website to learn more or to get SUBS into your school district.

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Speak Up Florida!