HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2016
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO EDUCATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that sexual abuse remains a serious and ongoing threat to the safety, health, and well-being of children and young people in the State.
Although programs and department of education-approved curricula currently exist in the State to provide training to school teachers and staff and sexual abuse prevention education to students, implementation is not consistent system wide and resources for the provision of training and education are limited.
Consequently, students in Hawaii may not receive regular, consistent child abuse prevention education, nor are parents informed about child sexual abuse topics. In addition, many school teachers and staff do not receive sufficient training on talking to students about child sexual abuse prevention, the effects of child sexual abuse on children, handling sexual abuse disclosures, and mandated reporting.
Laws requiring that public school systems implement a program of regular, consistent sexual abuse prevention education for students, teacher and staff training, and parental involvement have passed in twenty-six states and the Territory of Guam and have been introduced in the legislatures of sixteen others. These laws represent a national trend in safety, health, and well-being education and are collectively referred to as "Erin's Law" after Erin Merryn, an Illinois survivor of child sexual abuse, who has led the national movement for required programs for child sexual abuse prevention education.
The purpose of this Act is to form a task force to guide the establishment of a program to educate public school students on sexual abuse prevention through use of age-appropriate curricula, provide relevant training to school teachers and staff, and inform parents about important child sexual abuse topics.
SECTION 2. (a) There is established the Erin's Law task force to be convened by the legislature to review current policies, programs, and curricula for educating students in the public school system about sexual abuse prevention and to report recommendations for the establishment of a program to educate all children in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve in public schools on sexual abuse prevention through age appropriate curricula.
(b) The task force shall comprise:
(1) The superintendent, or the superintendent's designee;
(2) The director of health, or the director's designee;
(3) The director of human services, or the director's designee;
(4) The attorney general, or the attorney general's designee;
(5) The director of the executive office on early learning, or the director's designee;
(6) The executive director of the Hawaii Youth Services Network, or the executive director's designee;
(7) The executive director of the Sex Abuse Treatment Center, or the executive director's designee;
(8) A member of the senate, to be designated by the senate president;
(9) A member of the house of representatives, to be designated by the speaker of the house of representatives;
(10) An elementary school principal and a secondary school principal, to be designated by the superintendent; and
(11) A representative from a charter school, to be designated by the executive director of the state public charter school commission.
(c) The respective members of the senate and house of representatives shall serve as the co-chairs of the task force.
(d) Members of the task force shall serve without compensation. No member shall be made subject to chapter 84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, solely because of that member's participation as a member of the task force.
(e) The meetings of the task force shall be exempt from chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes. The initial meeting of the task force shall be held no later than August 12, 2016.
(f) The task force shall consider the following concepts when reviewing current policies, programs, and curricula and shall make recommendations for the establishment of a program:
(1) Current resources available in the State for educating students in the public school system about sexual abuse prevention;
(2) Existing gaps in child sexual abuse prevention education, including education, training, and information, as needed, for students, school teachers and staff, and parents and guardians;
(3) The Hawaii content and performance standards;
(4) Required elements for an instructional program for students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve, including:
(A) Techniques to teach children to recognize sexual abuse, equip them with skills to reduce their vulnerability, and encourage them to report the abuse;
(B) Sessions of instruction to reinforce the concepts learned in the program;
(C) Sessions conducted annually, building on skills and knowledge learned in previous years;
(D) Developmentally-appropriate instruction for each grade level;
(E) Involvement of students as active learning participants, through such methods as discussion, modeling, and role playing;
(F) Capacity to be delivered by a range of personnel and professionals, including teachers, school counselors, and outside agency prevention educators; provided that the personnel and professionals should have a thorough knowledge of child sexual abuse, including how to respond appropriately to sexual abuse disclosures;
(G) An evaluation component with measurable outcomes;
(H) Instruction that is culturally sensitive and adaptable for use within varying school contexts, including age, race, and special needs;
(I) The use of evidence-based, age-appropriate curricula that uses discussions, role plays, activities, books, or other appropriate educational materials and methods;
(J) A professional training component for administrators, teachers, and other school personnel on talking to students about child sexual abuse prevention, effects of child sexual abuse on children, handling of sexual abuse disclosures, and mandated reporting; and
(K) A component that encourages parental or guardian involvement within the child sexual abuse program, which should inform parents or guardians about child sexual abuse topics, including discussion of child sexual abuse myths, characteristics of offenders, grooming behaviors, and how to discuss this topic with children;
(5) Title IX and any other federal and state laws and policies concerning public school systems' handling of sexual violence issues, to the extent that they relate to sexual abuse prevention education;
(6) Resources needed to implement a systemwide program for child sexual abuse prevention education; and
(7) Updates to laws or policies that assist in the implementation of a statewide program for child sexual abuse prevention education.
(g) The task force shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2017, and a follow-up report, including any additional proposed legislation, no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2018.
(h) The task force shall cease to exist on June 30, 2018.
SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 for the operations of the Erin's Law task force.
The sum appropriated shall be expended by the legislature for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2060.
Erin's Law Task Force; Education; Sexual Abuse Prevention; Appropriation
Creates and appropriates funds for Erin's Law Task Force to review policies, programs, and curricula for educating public school students about sexual abuse prevention, and report recommendations for the establishment of a program to educate public school children on sexual abuse prevention through age-appropriate curricula. (HB1787 HD2)
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