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NM students to learn about sexual abuse prevention

Updated: 03/05/2014 6:02 PM | Created: 03/05/2014 5:34 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Starting next year, students across New Mexico will learn how to identify signs of sexual abuse and it will start with kids as young as 5.

Gov. Susana Martinez signed "Erin's Law" on Wednesday. She said it's time to teach our kids how to protect themselves and other victims of sexual abuse.

"You have little ones, different ages… you got to teach them age appropriate stuff," Martinez said.  

The law is named after Erin Merryn of Illinois. She said she was raped by a neighbor when she was 6-years-old and sexually assaulted by a family member. Erin is now an advocate for children who are victims of sexual abuse.

Under the law, every student from kindergarten to high school will be taught by their health teachers how to report sexual abuse and how to prevent it.

The state Public Education Department reports the curriculum is in its early stages. In the meantime, they are asking for parents' trust.

"I'm comfortable with the states teaching it as long as the parents are able to review what is being taught," mother Jessica Campbell said.

New Mexico is adopting Erin's Law with nine other states, including Illinois, where teachers are already implementing lessons that include discussion, modeling and role playing.

"If you go too young it almost opens the door to something that they wouldn't have interest in or wasn't affecting them anyway. Where do we draw the line?" father Mathew Armendariz said.

Many parents agree that this is a subject that at one point in history was unspeakable, but now, it's time to speak out.

Photo: KOB File Photo

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