SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Archive for the ‘Domestic Violence’ Category

Improving the district, step by step…ending the cycle of violence

On April 25, 2010, Marcos Breton of the Sacramento Bee wrote a chilling article about the death of teenager Rebecca Layson at the hands of her boyfriend.  The article focused on the issue of domestic violence.  Rebecca was the third woman in her family, after her mother and grandmother, who was also murdered by her boyfriend, to be involved in an abusive relationship.

Three generations of abuse is too much.  In my job, I often see the disarray and pain that abusive relationships cause families.  Often going unreported, abusive relationships silently affect not only the person suffering the abuse, but the children who often witness the violence as well.  We as a community must do more to stop this cycle of violence and tragedies like Rebecca’s death.

As a board member, I would ask the Superintendent to implement a curriculum designed around recognizing, educating, and ending domestic violence.  A local higher education institution, such as Sacramento State University, in conjunction with the district, could design this curriculum if one has not been already finalized.  The design would not be cost prohibitive given the obvious need and benefits such a program would have for our children.  Also, this curriculum fits appropriately with the curriculum, programs, and policies already in place regarding the issue of bullying.

A few tenets should guide the curriculum.  First, students need the tools to recognize abuse.  Although sometimes self-evident, abusive relationships can take on a number of different qualities and contexts.  This type of conduct must be categorized separate and apart from other behaviors and school children taught to recognize it as such.  Second, students should be taught that abuse, in any form, is unacceptable behavior.  Third, strategies to proactively manage relationships, emotions and behaviors should be taught.  Ending the cycle of violence must be stressed.  These principals are not, of course, an exhaustive list and I would defer to the experts in crafting a more detailed, nuanced and engaging curriculum.  But my direct experience mentoring neglected and abused children in our community does shed some light on how the district should tackle this pernicious problem.

My point of emphasis is that our school district can become a leader in issues regarding community safety.  We can take substantive steps to end the cycle of violence that afflicts our communities.  The fiscal impact would be minimal.  And in comparison to the rewards for children and families in our district, it is well worth the investment.

We need to think anew how we can best help our children help our community.  The district must be at the forefront of ending domestic violence.  This small step I propose can have a lasting, deep impact on the lives of district children and the future of the city of Sacramento.

Written by jeffcuneo

June 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm