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Florida offers statewide curriculum to prevent sexual abuse

3:42 PM, Sep 27, 2012   |    comments
  • Lauren Book teaches kindergartners a lesson from "Safer, Smarter Kids." It's a new curriculum she developed for kindergarten classrooms across Florida.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Kindergartners across Florida are now learning one of the most important lessons of their young lives with a new curriculum designed to prevent childhood sexual abuse.

Sex abuse survivor Lauren Book visited a kindergarten class Thursday and taught the students some lessons from her curriculum called "Safer, Smarter Kids."

They learned about safe secrets and unsafe secrets, and learning to trust certain "grown up buddies."

It's a serious and certainly scary topic for youngsters, but Lauren has developed the lessons to be presented in a fun way that doesn't scare children.

Lauren was sexually abused as a child by her nanny. Today she believes if she had learned the lessons from "Safer, Smarter Kids," she could have stopped her own horrific abuse.

"I know that the sexual abuse that I endured for six years would not have gone on for as long as it did because I would've had someone in my trusted triangle who I could turn to and access help from. I know that I would've been able to say, 'No, that's not safe.'"

State lawmakers voted last year to place "Safer, Smarter Kids" in all 11,000 kindergarten classrooms in Florida. In doing so, Florida becomes the first state in the nation to offer a statewide education curriculum to prevent childhood sexual abuse.

Students go through six 20-minute lessons. Lauren says it is critical information for all schoolchildren.

"Ninety-five percent of sexual abuse is preventable with education and awareness. One in three girls and one in five boys will be sexually assaulted before they're 18. That's before they leave this school system."

Sen. Bill Montford supported the legislation to bring "Safer, Smarter Kids" into kindergarten rooms across Florida.

Montford says he believes Lauren's work on this curriculum, as well as her efforts through the Lauren's Kids Foundation, have already prevented children from experiencing the personal torment she faced.

"If you look at the tremendous amount of work that Lauren in a very short period of time has accomplished, it's a miracle. And it's a miracle that's saving children's lives."

First Coast News

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