Archive for Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Students learn about respect in relationships

December 19, 2006


When people think of abusive relationships, they often conjure up an image of adults.

But experts say teenagers get caught in similar situations.

Students at Central Junior High School on Monday worked to break the cycle of abuse by getting the word out about respect. Students were encouraged to wear their "Choose Respect" T-shirts as part of their eighth-grade health curriculum.

"It's just sort of assumed that kids know how to have a healthy relationship, but we don't necessarily give them the tools, and they may not be in an environment where they're seeing a healthy relationship at home," said Tawny Hiatt, director of prevention education for the GaDuGi Safe Center.

The curriculum is the product of a partnership between GaDuGi, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to teach students about boundaries, honest and effective communication, and the fact that dating doesn't mean spending all of one's time with another person.

"So we tell kids that it's good to have your own ideas, that it's good to have time on your own and engage in outside relationships," Hiatt said.

The message was received.

"If there was more respect, you could definitely do a lot more stuff without being afraid of being criticized," said Chase Fraser, an eighth-grader.

Experts say by high school, one in 11 students - both male and female - has been on the receiving end of some sort of dating violence.

"Now is the time to teach them early about what a healthy relationship looks like," Hiatt said, "before it gets to the point where it's not healthy."

More about the initiative can be found at


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