Proposed Md. class aimed at preventing child abuse

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Schools across Maryland would be required to teach a class focused on preventing sexual abuse, under a bill that state lawmakers are considering.

“In Maryland, there’s no requirement in law that schools provide children with education and what to do when they are the victims of abuse,” said Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery County, the bill’s sponsor.

Other states have passed similar laws, referred to as “Erin’s Law,” after childhood sexual assault survivor and activist Erin Merryn.

Under the measure, the State Board of Education would develop a program focused on awareness and prevention of sexual abuse and assault. Local school systems would incorporate the program into health-education classes.

Nonpublic schools that receive certain state funding would be required to participate.

“It’s the single most effective thing we can do to reduce abuse,” Luedtke said.

According to Luedtke, one of the main goals of the program is to tell children that they need to talk to trusted adult if they are victimized, even if the abuser warns them to stay quiet.

Luedtke introduced a similar bill last year. It passed through the House but did not make it through the Senate.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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