Program in Springboro teaches 1st graders to spot signs of abuse and bullying

Local News

SPRINGBORO, Ohio (WDTN) — A Springboro elementary school has implemented a new safety program to protect and empower children.

“Child Safety Matters” is a program that was added to the first grade curriculum this past school year.

“Sometimes it can be an uncomfortable topic,” admits Clearcreek Elementary School Counselor Erin Gross.

“Child Safety Matters” teaches students how to spot signs of bullying and abuse and how to respond. It’s a five point lesson designed to stick with impressionable five- and six-year-olds.

“So a lot of times it’s something people shy away from, and we think we don’t want to talk about it, but kids are very matter-a-fact,” states Gross.

Lessons are interactive and cemented in their minds using games, storytelling, and videos. The program is to help prevent children from ever becoming victims.

Earlier in June, a former Springboro gym teacher was sentenced to 8 years in prison for sex crimes after he was seen on camera inappropriately touching more than two dozen girls at Clearcreek Elementary.

“It was in response to that, and also just in prevention of for future. Kids need to know that they can be hurt and how to get help when they are hurt,” says Gross.

Last year, about 450 students went through the program. Parents can opt out and instead can have the conversation at home, although Gross says very few chose that option.

The program is taught twice a year, but is reinforced throughout the school year.

“The statistics show the earlier you talk to kids and the more you can empower them with tools for prevention, the better,” says Gross.

Gross is hoping for continued parent support and is looking at possibly expanding the program to kindergarten.

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