Erin's Law and Ann Marie's Law: Annual Notification
Dear Parents and Guardians,
In addition to growing our students’ academic skills, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) continues to be a priority for Woodridge School District 68. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted students in many ways, and that it’s more important than ever for us to understand our students’ social-emotional needs and provide them with appropriate support. We recognize that partnering with families to promote positive social-emotional development allows our students to engage in problem-solving, demonstrate curiosity, and build productive relationships with others, further preparing our students for college and career readiness. The state has two laws related to the safety and social-emotional well-being of students, Erin’s Law and Ann Marie’s Law. Erin’s Law was passed as a concerted effort to teach children about ways to keep them safe. It requires that we educate students on safe touches and unsafe touches, safe secrets and unsafe secrets, and how to “get away and tell a trusted adult today.” Ann Marie’s Law mandates that all Illinois public schools provide age-appropriate suicide and depression awareness and prevention education programs for students.
In our elementary schools, students will be receiving instruction over the course of the school year related to Erin’s Law from the classroom teacher and school social worker utilizing the Child Protection Unit from Second Step, a program that provides instruction in social and emotional learning with units on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, friendship skills, and problem solving. At Jefferson, the Wolverine Wellness teacher, with support from the student services team, provides presentations to seventh and eighth graders that are aligned to the Second Step Curriculum. All of the material is presented in a developmentally- and age-appropriate manner for our preschoolers through eighth graders. The lessons are focused on helping children protect themselves by teaching them the following skills: recognizing unsafe and sexually abusive situations and touches, immediately reporting these situations to adults, and assertively refusing these situations whenever possible.
In compliance with Ann Marie's Law and to enhance our students’ self-management, self-efficacy, and other social-emotional competencies, we utilize age-appropriate assessments, staff education, and a partnership with a local non-profit for our oldest students. For all Woodridge 68 students in kindergarten through eighth grades, we utilize the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS), along with the Panorama Student Surveys for grades 3 through 8, which assist school personnel in determining the SEL strengths and challenges of students as well as identifying any children in need of further support services. Seventh and eighth grade students will also receive a lesson on suicide prevention through their regularly scheduled wolverine wellness class. The lesson has been created with a non-for-profit community organization, Elyssa's Mission, and presents the evidence based "Signs of Suicide" prevention program as a large scale mental health screening for all students. Follow-ups from this screening are performed by Jefferson Junior High Student Services staff. More information will be sent home to Jefferson families prior to this program's implementation.
If you have any questions or concerns about Ann Marie’s Law or Erin’s Law, or do not want your child to participate in these lessons, please contact your child’s teacher or school administration.