June 4, 2014 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Last night, the Fairbanks School Board unanimously approved the first reading of a policy based on House Bill 233 from the 28th Legislative Session, known as Erin’s Law.
“I was proud to bring Erin to Alaska this March in support of H.B. 233,” says Representative Geran Tarr, who introduced Erin’s Law in the Alaska Legislature, “Thanks to her hard work, this legislation has already passed in a dozen states, making a lasting difference in the lives of millions of children.”
The Fairbanks School Board policy would take after Erin’s Law and implement a K-12 age-appropriate curriculum regarding inappropriate touches and unsafe secrets. The policy and Erin’s work also focus on teachers and school staff learning how to recognize signs of abuse, properly report it, and provide support to the student.
“I am thrilled to receive this news from Rep. Tarr!” said Erin Merryn, “I applaud the efforts of the Fairbanks School Board in realizing that they don’t need to wait for a law to pass to give students the tools to protect themselves. I look forward to reading the final policy and seeing the benefits this might have for the students.”
“My message is ‘yes.’” Rep. Tarr emphasized. “I applaud the effort of the Fairbanks school board members in drafting this policy & encourage full implementation. This prevention policy will change the lives of their students for the better.”
Erin, the woman promoting Erin’s Law across the country, was twice the victim of child sexual abuse. She, like other abused children, was told by her abusers to keep it secret. Now Erin has made it her mission to give children the voice she never had through the implementation of Erin’s Law. The Board members recognize that this policy is a preventative measure intended to increase awareness about sexual abuse and encourage students to feel comfortable coming forward.
Erin’s law unanimously passed the State House Education Committee after Erin’s testimony and a Senate version of the bill was introduced midway through the 2014 session. However, both versions of the bill were stranded in the House Finance Committee when the session adjourned. Fairbanks is the first Alaska school district to implement a policy based on Erin’s Law.
Erin’s policy is now on the schedule for the School Board’s next meeting, where a passing vote would make this district policy.
Questions about Erin’s Law can be directed to Rep. Tarr’s office at 907-269-0144 and more information can be found at erinslaw.org.