Monday, May 16, 2011

Teen's Crusade Against Dating Violence Ends in Legislation

Politicker NJ reports that Governor Christie recently signed legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican members Anthony M. Bucco and Mary Pat Angelini that requires school districts to include information about dating violence in their curriculum.

The bill, A-2920, directs the Department of Education to develop a school district dating violence policy and requires districts to provide dating violence education in a school’s health curriculum. The curriculum, Bucco said, will teach teens how to get help if they are a target of dating abuse, and will also focus on developing healthy dating relationships, how to help friends in abusive relationships, and encourages parents to get involved and be aware of what is going on in their child’s life.

In April, My Central Jersey reported that high school sophomore Nicole DeSario kick-started the initiative as a service project to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. The topic was familiar to DeSario, who said she was exposed to domestic violence as a young child, but now finds "it empowering to know that I'm stronger from what our family has gone through.'' She took her efforts to a local middle school, where students took part in an interactive seminar titled "Speak Out: A Workshop on Teen Dating Violence.'' She then partnered with state legislators to draft a bill that would require the state Department of Education to develop a policy on dating violence in New Jersey's school districts.

Do you have any outstanding Girl Scout Gold Award stories to share?