© 2023 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Senate works to pass sex trafficking prevention bill for teachers

Teacher home visits have shown to improve attendance and success in school.
Roman Muradov for NPR

State lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would require the Department of Education to train teachers and school counselors on sex trafficking prevention and response.

SB1347 would ensure school staff have knowledge of how to identify and help a victim.

According to the state Department of Human Services, roughly 20% of child abuse and neglect are reported by education personnel.

Testifiers said that the training should be written out by the DOE, not a political statute.

"I think that the efforts really should be centered with the DOE, working with community partners and developing what they think is most appropriate. There's a lot they have to consider," said Tracy Ryan, executive director of Harm Reduction Hawaiʻi.

"They have to consider issues of developmental psychology. They have to consider issues of budget. They have to consider how parents may react to what's presented," Ryan said.

"They have to consider how to accumulate the appropriate material, [if] it's accurate, and they have to look into situations such as the D.A.R.E Project, which was very well-intentioned, but which had an unintended consequence for a lot of schools with the D.A.R.E Project showed actual increases in drug use."

SB1347 was introduced last year and carried over to this year’s session.

The bill passed a third committee reading with amendments to clarify which educational personnel would receive training, including security and custodial staff.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
Related Stories