SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – After 10 years of efforts, one Siouxlander finally sees a bill close to his heart introduced in the Nebraska legislature.
LB281, or Erin’s Law, was introduced in the 2021 Nebraska Legislature by Sen. Joni Albrecht. The bill will require public schools to provide four hours of body awareness training to students in k-5th grade and teacher training as a preventative method for helping reduce incidents of child sexual abuse.
A subject that hits close to home for Michael Carnes.
“I was sexually assaulted as a child,” said Carnes.
And, he’s not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control about 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys experience child sexual abuse.
“It was a one time event that really, really hurt me. In a lot of ways,” Carnes said.
For 10 years Carnes has pushed for Erin’s Law to be implemented into Nebraska public schools.
“We teach kids what to do in case of a fire, what to do in case of a tornado, what to do in case some nut comes into a building and starts shooting or whatever. We teach them all these things but we don’t teach them what to do when they’ve been assaulted like this,” Carnes said.
Albrecht said, this session, Erin’s Law takes priority.
“I’m not reinventing the well here. This bill has been talked about in 37 other states and there are a lot of different examples of it. It’s working. So if I can save one child it’s worth bringing the bill across the finish line,” Albrecht said.
“I hope that the long-term impact is that kids will be able to deal with this issue and then get the help they need. It was something I didn’t really get when I was a kid. 1976 we had a lot different viewpoints about children and this situation than we do in 2021,” Carnes added.
The bill now heads to the Education Committee.
If passed the program will be funded by the ‘Every student succeeds act.’