Students learn how to prevent teen dating violence

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February is the national Teen Dating Violence and Prevention Awareness Month. This month allows teachers, counselors, and other adults to help inform teens about healthy relationships. 

Last week during the Feb. 7-11, Lamar student outreach specialists Cynthia Ward and Stephanie Jurgens held a week of awareness for students to participate and to help inform  them of the differences between a healthy and a non-healthy relationship. 

“Our goal is to try to get that information out to students and give them some of the warning signs,” Ward said. “And, help them recognize if they, or one of their friends, are in a relationship that is not healthy.” 

Teen dating violence is when a partner uses intimidation or multipion on their partner. There are other types of abuse that include emotional, sexual, digital, forceful and controlling behaviors. Adults try to lower the number of teens that are in relationships with these types of threats, in order to help keep teens safe and away from harm. Jergens said research shows one in four teens across the country are likely to be in a violent relationship. 

“Don’t be afraid to speak up,” junior student committee member Kenya Granville said. “There are people out there who are great resources for this solution, and it’s better to get out of the relationship before something terrible may happen.”  

Several activities were planned throughout the week. On Monday, Lamar students helped pass out snacks with a fact of what is a healthy relationship and what’s not. Tuesday, students were asked to wear orange to spread awareness. On Wednesday, students spread affirmations around the school. On Thursday, theater students acted out scenarios of healthy relationships in the cafeteria, and on Friday, Ward and Jurgens invited guest speakers to talk about healthy and non-healthy relationships. 

“Being a part of the student committee has been really, really fun. I enjoyed the time I’ve been onthe committee, and  the people I’ve been on the committee with,” Granville said. “It’s been really, really fun just making preparation for that week.”

 Students can help themselves, or a friend, stop teen violence by simply going to a trusted adult and sharing a story about a worrisome relationship. If students are not sure who to speak with about a relationship, Ward and Jurgens are always available through the counseling center.

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