Youth training programs teach students about boundaries

First slide

In a darkened high school classroom, a video plays with moody music. Police, teachers and students share frightening statistics on screen. One such statistic — “Each year in the United States, as many as 100,000 minors under the age of 18 are at risk of being trafficked for commercial sex.”

The video, “Tricked: Inside the World of Teen Sex Trafficking,” is one of the options offered to high school students as part of the youth training programs by the Office of Child Protection and Safety.

The diocese requires these programs for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

For first- through eighth-graders, Formation in Christian Chastity is rooted in the lives of the saints, storytelling and morals. Students are taught about virtues, relationships and trusted adults. First-graders are taught in class, while second- through fourth-graders are taught at home.

The diocesan website includes the course material for grade school students. The website includes letters to parents about what to expect from each year, lesson plans and more. Parents of third-graders get teaching points on how to present the concept of the triune God which reveals the first community.

Older grade school students are given tips for creating a safety plan, including always being with a group when outdoors, being aware of their surroundings and not daydreaming, using well-lit streets and walkways, having a list of emergency phone numbers when home alone, and walking with authority.

David Conroy, principal of All Saints School in Manassas, said like a fire drill, the training programs are another way the school practices keeping students safe.

“This program offers another layer because it helps students understand the things they do to keep them safe,” he said. “Hopefully, it empowers them to understand if something makes them uncomfortable, they will know how to respond to it.”

In the high school training, students are taught about emotional, physical and community boundaries through the video-based “Called to Protect for Youth” or “Tricked: Inside the World of Teen Sex Trafficking.” It is the principal’s decision as to which video the students watch.

The teachers are mandated to offer the program by December of the school year and offer a makeup session for anyone unable to attend.

“At the end of the day it is not the child’s responsibility to protect themselves,” said Deacon Marques Silva, director of the Office of Child Protection and Safety. “We need to give them the tools to communicate with their parents and Formation in Christian Chastity does that as developmentally appropriate.”

Deacon Silva said chastity for Catholics “is about appropriate relationships, not just about sex.”

Find out more

To learn more about how the Diocese of Arlington provides opportunities to report abuse, heal from abuse, and find support through the Office of Child Protection and Victim Assistance, go to ArlingtonDiocese.org/ChildProtection.

The Diocese of Arlington encourages anyone who knows of misconduct or abuse on the part of any cleric or employee of the diocese, to notify civil authorities and reach out to Frank Moncher, victim assistance coordinator, at 703/841-2530.

 

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

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