The El Paso Independent School District has teamed with Jennifer Annâ€™s Group to help educate students about the perils of teen dating violence by creating a video to use as a teaching tool in the classroom.
The 20-minute video is presented by psychologist Elizabeth Richeson, and goes into detail about teen dating violence and identifying the potential warning signs. The video also teaches educators how to open the lines of communication with students.
â€śItâ€™s important to educate yourself and understand what is and isnâ€™t acceptable in a relationship,â€ť Richeson said. â€śIt is important to understand the reality of dating abuse and have a safety plan in place before you ever should need it.â€ť
Richeson has been personally affected by dating violence. Her granddaughter Jennifer Ann Crecente was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 2006.
Jennifer Annâ€™s Group was founded by Jenniferâ€™s family to help raise awareness about the dangers of teen dating violence.
The collaboration between the non-profit and the District came after discussion between Richeson and Franklin High School counselor Andrea Ponsford about presenting on to the schoolâ€™s more than 2,700 students. They realized it would take more than 12 presentations to reach all the students, so they had to come up with another way.
â€śWe explored the options and found that a video could be produced by the district that would ultimately available to all district teachers, counselors and students via YouTube,â€ť Richeson said.
Once the video was created and posted Ponsford was the first to present it to the students. Custom bookmarks were also created, which contain information about the 10 warning signs of an abusive relationship, to give to the students.
The District is invested in providing education on teen dating violence for students, and it is an issue Superintendent Juan Cabrera advocates against.
He was nominated for the Young Hearts Matter Advocate of the Year Award for his efforts as a board member of El Pasoâ€™s Center Against Sexual and Family Violence.
â€śAfter reading about Mr Cabrera’s interest in educating to prevent teen dating violence for his district, I knew that Jennifer Ann’s Group would be a perfect fit to collaborate with EPISD,â€ť Richeson said. â€śIt is our fervent hope that as students learn the warning signs of an abusive relationship, they will become intolerant of those dysfunctional relationships, not only for themselves but for others about which they are aware.â€ť
If you or someone you know is a victim of teen dating violence, you can call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474.