Enacts "Erin Merryn's law" to require provision of instruction to prevent child sexual exploitation and abuse in grades kindergarten through eight.
Ayes (61): Adams, Addabbo, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Boyle, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Espaillat, Farley, Felder, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Gipson, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Hoylman, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, Latimer, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Marchione, Martins, Maziarz, Nozzolio, O'Brien, O'Mara, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Sanders, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Tkaczyk, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Nays (1): Montgomery
Excused (1): Sampson
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to enacting "Erin Merryn's law"
PURPOSE: Enacts "Erin Merryn's Law" to require provision of instruction to prevent child sexual exploitation and abuse in grades kindergarten through eight.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1. Short title "Erin Merryn's law" Section 2. Legislative findings and intent
Section 3. Amends section 803-a of the education law, as added by chapter 658 of the laws of 1994 to add prevention of child sexual abuse and exploitation to instruction students already receive in the prevention of child abduction. The duties of the local boards of education to select curricula and the commissioner to provide technical assistance are unchanged.
Section 4. Effective date.
Section 803-a of the education law currently requires all public school students in grades K-8 to receive instruction designed to prevent child abduction. The law does not mandate how much time must be allocated to the subject, or how frequently the instruction must be given. It must, however, be given under the direct supervision of a regular classroom teacher, even if outside speakers are used. This requirement ensures the quality of the instruction and that the time spent on these important lessons counts toward required classroom time.
JUSTIFICATION: Awareness of the epidemic of child sexual abuse has come a long way since section 803-a was enacted in 1994 and quality school safety programs are already evolving to teach children that abduction by strangers is not the only, or the most common, danger they face. Like other sex crimes, most child sexual abuse is committed by people who know their victims. Trusted acquaintances are most often the perpetrators, followed by family members and then strangers. Updating the language of New York's education requirement to reflect the current understanding of both the sources and warning signs of child predation will help ensure that more children receive practical and age-appropriate instruction that they can incorporate into their daily lives.
As more and more abuse victims of all ages are coming forward to share stories of horrifying abuses, we are regularly reminded of our sacred obligation to prepare the next generation children to meet life's major challenges. Despite greater openness about these crimes, feelings of shame or stigma still keep many victims and witnesses silent. Many young people suffering abuse or exploitation are still unaware of when and from whom to seek help. Concerned parents may not even know about the latest techniques being used by predators to meet
and groom their victims through electronic communications, the Internet and social media.
Expanding the required instruction under 803-a to encompass child sex abuse and exploitation prevention will require the state education department to make revisions to its technical advisories but it need not require districts to devote any additional time or staffing resources to student safety instruction. With our growing understanding of the many dangers facing our children and the lifelong injuries sexual abuse and exploitation can inflict, the cost of not providing this vital safety information is simply too high.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: S. 6182 - Passed Senate
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal. The state education department will continue to provide technical assistance to school districts in their development of age-appropriate curricula.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on September 1st, next succeeding when it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2367 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 16, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. KLEIN, ADAMS, ADDABBO, CARLUCCI, HANNON, HASSELL-THOMPSON, LARKIN, MAZIARZ, PARKER, RANZENHOFER, SAVINO, VALE- SKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be commit- ted to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to enacting "Erin Merryn's law" THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Erin Merryn's law". S 2. Legislative findings and intent. The legislature finds and declares that child sexual abuse, estimated to affect up to one in four girls and up to one in six boys, poses a grave threat to the health and safety of young people, and its damaging effects can last a lifetime. The legislature also finds and declares that child sexual exploita- tion, including the use of children in pornography and prostitution, and child abduction pose a similar threat to the health and safety of young people, and put child victims at grave risk of death or severe bodily harm. The legislature also finds and declares that the incidence of child sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and child abduction can be reduced by raising awareness among young children of common dangers and warning signs, empowering children to better protect themselves from sexual predators, and teaching children how to obtain any necessary assistance or services. It is hereby declared to be the public policy and in the public inter- est of this state to establish a comprehensive program to provide an age-appropriate course of instruction in the prevention of child abduc- tion, child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse. S 3. Section 803-a of the education law, as added by chapter 658 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read as follows:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03100-02-3 S. 2367 2
S 803-a. Courses of study in prevention of child abduction, CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. 1. All pupils in grades
[K-8]KINDERGARTEN THROUGH EIGHT in all public schools in the state shall receive instruction designed to prevent the abduction, EXPLOITA- TION OR SEXUAL ABUSE of children. Such instruction shall be provided by or under the direct supervision of regular classroom teachers, provided, however, that such instruction may be provided by any other agency, public or private. 2. The commissioner, shall provide technical assistance to assist in the development of curricula for such courses of study which shall be age appropriate and developed according to the needs and abilities of pupils at successive grade levels in order to provide awareness skills, information, self-confidence and support to aid in the prevention of child abduction, CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. 3. For purposes of developing such courses of study, the board of education or trustees of every school district may establish local advi- sory councils or utilize the school-based shared decision making and planning committee established pursuant to regulations of the commis- sioner to make recommendations concerning the content and implementation of such courses. School districts may alternatively utilize courses of instruction developed by consortia of school district, boards of cooper- ative educational services, other school districts or any other agency, public or private. Such advisory councils shall consist of, but not be limited to, parents, school trustees and board members, appropriate school personnel, business and community representatives, and law enforcement personnel having experience in the prevention of child abduction, CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. 4. The board of education or trustees of every school district shall provide appropriate training and curriculum materials for the regular teachers who provide such instruction. S 4. This act shall take effect on the first of September next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.