U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has been honored for his work in fighting dating violence among teens.
His S. 1447 Stop Abuse for Every Teen Act, was introduced last month with bipartisan support.
On Monday, Crapo will discuss the bill and make note of this week's shooting death of 22-year-old University of Idaho student Katy Benoit of Boise.
Crapo's spokesman, Lindsay Nothern, said the Benoit case is topical, even though she was in her early 20s.
"The problem is the same," said Nothern in an email. "People need to be aware of the issue and be prepared to speak up about it. Especially men, who Crapo feels must speak out to other men that violent or threatening behavior is not acceptable.
"Getting the word out in school can hopefully make a difference in adult life," Nothern continued. "This is a very tragic case. We don’t know all the details but we would hope that if more people spoke up more quickly, which is one of the goals of this awareness program, perhaps it could have made a difference."
Crapo will appear at the Idaho Capitol at 9:45 a.m. Monday. He will be joined by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Sherry Iverson, director of Women & Children’s Education at St. Luke's, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelly Miller, Start Strong Idaho Teen Leader Laura Hampikian and Center for Healthy Teen Relationships Teen activist Sara Hope Leonard.
A fact sheet provided by Nothern explains the bill:
# The SAFE Teen Act amends the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (under title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) to authorize grant funds for dating violence prevention programs. Representative Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) has introduced a version of this bill in the House.
# The legislation would amend the Act’s definition of “violence” to include “dating violence” to ensure that dating violence programs are eligible for Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities’ grants. Currently, grant eligibility for dating violence programs is at the discretion of each administration. This fix would provide consistency and enable more school dating violence prevention programs to receive funds.
# This bill would also enable the Department of Education to join the CDC in collecting data on teen dating violence.
# It would also pool existing Department of Education funds to create an innovation fund to be used under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to research and develop evidence-based programs and strategies for combating teen dating violence.
# This would not require any new spending and would just encourage the pursuit of finding the most effective practices.
# At least 15 states have passed teen dating violence laws that urge or require school boards to develop curriculum on teen dating violence, most without additional funding or guidance. The federal legislation attempts to correct this problem by allowing schools to incorporate teen dating violence prevention into existing school safety programs. Schools are also encouraged to train school personnel on the issue and incorporate response mechanisms into school policies.
# The legislation is supported by Futures Without Violence, and a coalition of domestic violence and education advocacy organizations that support the legislation, including the National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, Love is Not Abuse Coalition, Jewish Women International, Girl Scouts of the USA, and RAINN.
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