KFOR.com Oklahoma City

School sexual assault education and prevention measure passed by Oklahoma House

OKLAHOMA CITY– The House of Representatives passed House Bill 1362 Tuesday. The legislation is to provide sexual assault prevention and response training to public school teachers and staff. The legislation passed by a vote of 95-1.

“We need to do everything in our power to make sure that our students are taught in a safe and sound environment,” said Rep. Claudia Griffith (D-Norman), the author of the bill. “This bill will give school districts the opportunity to create their own programs to give their teachers, staff, and administrators the training to correctly prevent and respond to acts of sexual assault.”

House Bill 1362 amends the Safe School Committee provisions to include training for programs that may be implemented at the school site. The new provisions would inform students and school staff on the appropriate emotional response, victim support needs, and treatment following a rape or sexual assault incident that occurs at school or involves a student.

“Four months ago, we had an incident in Norman schools where a student was charged with assaulting three young women,” said Griffith. “Two weeks ago, three teens were arrested in connection with a sexual assault at Westmoore High School. This is a problem in our schools and we need to give teachers and other staff the tools to handle these situations. As a nurse, I know how hard it is to treat a victim of rape and I know the training needed to help those victims emotionally as a first responder.”

The assaults in Norman sparked a movement among students, parents, teachers, and community members called YES All Daughters. The group advocates for all victims of sexual violence and bullying, and aims to raise funds to start a non-profit organization for their advocacy efforts.

“Today is another step forward in the fight against sexual assault in Oklahoma,” said Stacey Wright, organizer of YES All Daughters. “We hope HB 1362 will continue this trajectory and move swiftly through the Senate and on to being signed into law by Governor Fallin. Oklahoma House legislators showed us today that our children’s health and safety is a priority in our state. We’d like to thank Claudia Griffith and all those who voted for this important legislation today, as well as all those who stand with YES All Daughters against sexual violence.”

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