Children’s Center body safety program being taught to Missouri schools

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JOPLIN, Mo. — A nonprofit is teaming up with a local school district.

The Children’s Center is going into the classroom to teach Joplin students about body safety.

It’s part of a law that requires all Missouri school districts to provide sexual abuse prevention training.

“Our training encompasses cyber bullying, bullying, online safety. It encompasses all the abuse,” said Desiree Breidenstein, Children’s Center Community Outreach Coordinator.

The Children’s Center is going inside local classrooms to teach students about body safety.

They are training 6th through 12th grade students about safety and the resources available.

“This is just an added security level that if the child knows how to identify that something is going on that shouldn’t be going on. Or that someone is making them feel uncomfortable, this is going to help them deal with those feelings and know what to do next,” said Breidenstein.

They are teaching the program to Joplin Public Schools, Monett R-1 schools and Liberal R-Two students.

Children’s center received a grant for the program so they can offer free materials to students.

“Them being educated about how and what should be going on with their body helps them to identify and helps them to tell,” said Breidenstein.

Joplin Public Schools is expanding their program which is called Teen Safety Matters.

Last year it was only offered to sixth grade students and now it will be taught up through 12th grade.

“Our goal is with the legislation and through our policy to make sure students are aware of the signs of sexual abuse, know how to report instances of sexual abuse and also know they know what’s available to them to help support them,” said Sarah Mwangi, JPS Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services

The program will also teach students about online safety and it will help them identify safe adults in their lives.

For more resources on mandatory reporter training, click here, and to help report child abuse, click here.

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