Bill designed to prevent sexual assault, improve tech education passes Senate

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSLS 10) - A bill designed to help prevent sexual assault and strengthen career and technical education (CTE) passed the Senate Thursday.

The Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), which included provisions from U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the chief federal law addressing K-12 education.

Under the bill, all schools applying for Title IV funding would be required to describe how they educate students about safe relationship behavior regardless of whether they use ESEA funds for health education. According to a statement released from Kaine's office, the idea for the bill came out of a December 2014 meeting Kaine had at the University of Virginia to listen to students' recommendations for preventing campus sexual assault.

Provisions in ECAA were also designed to strengthen CTE, including an amendment that designates career and technical education as a core academic subject – on par with English, math and science – which will give due recognition to the important contributions CTE makes to students' future success.

The ECAA includes Kaine's provisions for school counselors to have greater access to resources and information to help students make informed decisions about their futures, as well as a provision encouraging schools to integrate teacher professional development for CTE with other academic curricula through opportunities such as common planning time to coordinate instructional strategies.

Gil Harrington lost her daughter Morgan in 2009. Her daughter was abducted and murdered. Since then she's fought for changes hoping it could stop another person from becoming a victim.

"I think Morgan has been a catalyst for a lot of good," says Gil. "I'm proud of that. We have changed the culture."

Meanwhile Liz Securro believes the bill could've helped her.

As a 17-year-old first year at UVA, she was drugged then raped at a fraternity party.

"I'm not saying education would have prevented what happened to me, but I would think moving forward I wouldn't have the tumultuous path of finding out the emotional fallout and physical fallout," says Securro.

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