In recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, group of elected officials held a press conference in Brooklyn Friday morning to announce the launch of the Jessica Tush Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program, a pilot program with a high school curriculum that addresses the problem of teen dating violence and the first-ever to be aligned with Common Core Standards.
One in three girls in the United States will experience physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse from a dating partner, and young women between 16 and 24 experience the highest levels of partner violence — nearly three times the national average, according to expert reports.
Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Public Advocate Letitia James were joined by New York State Regent Kathleen Cashin, teen dating violence prevention advocates, and dating violence survivors to announce the launch, which will be piloted at Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design.
Named after Jessica Tush, a Staten Island teenager who was slain as the result of dating violence, the program will involve twelve ninth-grade students who will undergo a three-month training program offered by Day One, a youth dating violence prevention group, with the help of TOGETHER, a youth and police empowerment program.
The goal of the program is to make students and teachers aware of how to prevent and recognize teen dating violence, and how to intervene when necessary. Day One will also provide professional development for all teachers, counselors, and administrators.
"Teenagers learn best when they learn from one another. This project will empower the student participants to play an active role in designing a curriculum that will be used in the classroom,"said Giovanni D'Amato, assistant principal of Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design.
"From the logo which was designed by students, to the eventual curriculum, this will be a student-centered project. The project is the perfect example of how education works best where students are working under the guidance of teachers and counselors with the one goal of preventing abuse related to teen relationships."
"The videos and lessons will certainly have a dramatic impact on the way teen dating violence is discussed and handled within New York City schools and I am wholeheartedly in support of this wonderful program," said Lentol, who initiated the request for a funds allocation by the assembly to the program. "I hope Jessica is watching down and sees that we are working hard to prevent future tragedies."