ABUSE & TRAFFICKING
Protect Our Students is a FREE, online professional development training for NC school personnel on child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. The training module was designed to comply with the school personnel training requirement in SL 2019-245 (S199) and DPI requirements. Districts, schools, organizations and individuals may register for free access. Over 24,000 NC school employees completed Protect Our Students during the 2020-2021 school year.
The training is formatted for self-paced e-learning and includes a Certificate of Completion, course participation tracking and technical support. An alternate version of the module is available that is useful for review purposes, group presentation and individuals completing the training independent of a requirement. The alternate version does not track participation or include a Certificate of Completion.
School employees do NOT need to register if they have been directed by their school to complete the training. Instead, contact your administration for direct password access.
LEARN ABOUT THE MANDATE IN SESSION LAW 2019-245 (S199)
Child sexual abuse and sex trafficking training program requirements
NC public and charter schools are required by law to adopt and implement a child sexual abuse and sex trafficking training program for school personnel. See question and answer section below for a brief overview of the law. (Quotations below are taken directly from SL 2019-245.) View the full wording of SL 2019-245. (See highlighted sections for full details regarding the required training.)
Who is required to implement a sexual abuse training program?
North Carolina’s public-school districts, charter schools, regional schools and UNC laboratory schools.
Which school personnel need to be trained?
Kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers, instructional support personnel, principals and assistant principals. Additional school employees who work directly with students may receive the training at the discretion of the employing entity.
What are the basic requirements of the training program?
“Each employing entity shall adopt and implement a child sexual abuse and sex trafficking training program ... that provides education and awareness training related to child sexual abuse and sex trafficking ... All school personnel who work with students in grades kindergarten through 12 shall receive two hours of training ... in even-numbered years beginning in 2020.”
The training must include (but is not limited to) the following topics:
“Best practices from the field of prevention”
“Grooming process of sexual predators”
“The warning signs of sexual abuse and sex trafficking”
“How to intervene when sexual abuse or sex trafficking is suspected or disclosed”
“Legal responsibilities for reporting sexual abuse or sex trafficking”
“Available resources for assistance”
The training may be provided by:
“Local nongovernmental organizations with expertise in these areas”
“Local law enforcement officers”
“Officers of the court”
How often is the training program required?
All school personnel must receive the training in even numbered years beginning in 2020.
Can anyone be liable for civil damages as a result of implementation of the training program?
“No entity required to adopt a child sexual abuse and sex trafficking training program ... or its members, employees, designees, agents, or volunteers, shall be liable in civil damages to any party for any loss or damage caused by any act or omission relating to the provision of, participation in, or implementation of any component of a child sexual abuse and sex trafficking training program required by this section, unless that act or omission amounts to gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose any specific duty of care or standard of care on an entity required to adopt a child sexual abuse and sex trafficking training program ...”
Session Law 2019-245 (Senate Bill 199)
See highlighted sections of SL 2019-245 for full details regarding the required training.
OVERVIEW OF PROTECT OUR STUDENTS
Protect Our Students has been reviewed and approved by local professionals with expertise in child sexual abuse, human trafficking and counseling. The training incorporates best practices currently considered most effective in child sexual abuse prevention and response strategies. Knowledge Checks appear throughout the training to ensure participants are engaged in active learning. Think About It sections are included to encourage processing and application. A trauma-informed approach has been incorporated to be sensitive to those who have experienced prior sexual abuse. A study conducted from survey data collected during the 2020-2021 school year establishes the evidence-based effectiveness of Protect Our Students. (See an overview of study data.)
PROTECT OUR STUDENTS ADDRESSES THE FOLLOWING TOPICS:
Participants learn about what constitutes child sexual abuse. Statistics are provided to help clarify the true reality of the problem. Relevant North Carolina laws are covered. Information is also provided to explain the types of child sexual abuse that might occur on a school campus.
Risk Factors, Signs & Grooming
The training is designed to help school employees identify child sexual abuse and potentially concerning situations by understanding the risk factors, warning signs, red flags, protective factors and grooming techniques involved.
Responding & Reporting
Educators will learn how to respond to suspected child sexual abuse including disclosures, concerning signs and witnessed abuse. The specifics (who, what, when, where and how) of mandated reporting in NC are explained. This section is also designed to help school personnel apply the law to real-life scenarios.
In this section of the training, participants learn about child sex trafficking and the broader issue of human trafficking. Risk factors, warning signs and grooming behaviors common to trafficking are covered. Statistics give insight into the prevalence of trafficking in NC. Information on recognizing and responding to suspected trafficking is provided.
The need for a comprehensive approach to prevention and the role of school employees in this process is addressed. Information is provided on how to implement a school-wide strategy to strengthen prevention and response efforts.
Resources for Assistance & More
Information is provided on national and local resources related to child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. Resource links are located throughout the training and in the resources section. In addition, key content is available in printable format for later use, if needed.