‘Erin’s Law’ Passes Alaska Senate

Photo courtesy Erin Merryn.
Photo courtesy Erin Merryn.

The Alaska Senate unanimously passed Erin’s Law this morning.  The law  provides age-appropriate sexual abuse education to children in public schools.

Erin’s Law would educate children in public schools to speak up if something inappropriate happens. It also trains teachers and trusted adults to recognize signs that a child is being abused.

RELATED: Legislature Weighs ‘Erin’s Law’

Republican Senator Lesil McGuire brought forth a Senate bill identical to the House version first sponsored by Democratic Representative Garan Tarr. McGuire testified that Erin’s Law was the first step toward eliminating sexual abuse of children in Alaska.

“We lead the nation. This is one of those places where I hope a decade from now that we’ll be not leading the nation that we will completely flip the statistics. And I think this is gonna be a big part of it, Mr. President, is asking that our schools put age appropriate education about good touch, bad touch, good secrets, bad secrets,” McGuire said.

Sponsors expect that training would reach more than 90 percent of Alaska’s youth who attend public schools and the adults who spend a lot of time with them.

Erin’s Law, named after 29-year-old Erin Merryn  from Illinois, who was sexually abused as a child and has made it her goal to pass the law in all 50 states.

The law includes two-year delay for implementation. Governor Sean Parnell supports Erin’s Law.

The House version sits in the Finance Committee. The law has been passed in 12 states and is pending in 25 others.

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Daysha Eaton is the News Director at KBBI in Homer. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.