EDUCATION

Introducing sexual assault awareness education and LGBT history into schools

BY Michael Aron, Chief Political Correspondent |

Thirty-seven states, including New Jersey, have passed Erin’s Law, which requires public schools to teach age-appropriate lessons about sexual abuse and assault awareness to everyone from preschool to high school students. Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, a prime sponsor of the bill, sat down with Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron to explain why she believes it’s crucial.

“I always says, you can’t legislate morality, but you can begin to change the culture,” said Vainieri Huttle. “If children, young students, can feel good about their bodies and they understand what is a healthy relationship and what is not — that’s the beginning of a culture change.”

RELATED: At Monmouth University, confronting sexual assault by discussing sexual assault

The Bergen County Democrat also spoke about another bill she sponsored that was signed into law requiring schools to teach LGBT and disability-inclusive history in middle school and high school classrooms. The mandate will go into effect in public schools statewide next fall.

“We have people of all walks of life, a very diverse community of students, and they have to feel safe and they have to feel celebrated with their own uniqueness. We cannot have them ostracized and feel that they are different,” she said.