Radford graduate students push for new policy

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Graduate students at Radford University are currently working on revitalizing a bill in Virginia legislation by the name of HB 659. The official title of the policy is High school family life education curriculum; programs on prevention of dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual violence.

Master of Social Work candidate Hyisheem Calier is one of the graduate students assisting in the reestablished creation of this bill.

“Education and interaction of programs that target people who constantly deal with these sorts of issues, we are trying to raise that level of awareness amongst not only our peers but the state of Virginia,” he said.

The focus of HB 659 is to advocate for a more knowledgeable educational system for student and family life on concerns of abuse and relationships. The mission is to create an environment where these pressures of life have the opposite effect on the lives of young people and a mentoring effect on the older generation.

In terms of policy making, it is never a simple process. The bill, as passed by the state, would require any high school family-life education curriculum offered by a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective programs that gear towards the heavy subjects of dating violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, and domestic abuse.

“When you think about the public school system, a lot of students are not able to get educated on a special skill known as resiliency. To think that we really want to talk these things but not necessarily about targeting these things,” said Calier

The resiliency that Calier spoke of is important to address on this topic of self-motivating awareness.

“It’s personal, this is a complication that should be taken seriously, whether you are a victim or involved in any violence it’s a problem. It has the potential to affect not only yourself but the people you love, it’s such a series of unfortunate events but it’s better to prevent the issue now than to protect yourself from the issue later,” added R-space public relations intern Gion Brown.

“There are so many policies that say you can’t teach about sex and all these things don’t address certain social issues,” said Calier. “We want this to be vitalized so that when these young adults do go to college, Title IX is not an issue. So the questions remains, how are they going to get educated? Title 9 is a really big issue in this state and if we can let people know what this is all about and educate them on how to carry themselves it’ll be a proactive move.”

The graduate students have a lot of support on HB 659’s renewal. Dr. Cerry Vandergrift is one the professors at Radford who happens to be aiding the young professionals and they have already taken it to City Hall in Richmond and advocated it to two congressional representatives.

High school is a pivotal point where people begin deciding the rest of their lives. The motivation behind these graduate students is the focus of education to help minimize societal problems in curriculum based foundations.
Right now they are launching campaigns to advertise this legislation which includes, contacting state representative, creating a presentation, contacting media outlets, radio stations, and TV stations to publicize this proposal and get word out.

By this next time this year, they want to see HB 659, or something similar, proposed to the Congressional Committee and see further programs like this implemented and put forward to the House.