Injury prevention education
The greatest threat to the health and lives of young people is unintentional injury. More than 3 times as many young people are killed by unintentional injuries as by any other cause of death. Unintentional injury isn’t caused on purpose. These types of injuries include injuries from motor vehicle crashes, drowning, poison, fires and burns, falls, sports, firearms, choking, suffocation and animal bites.
In ETR’s comprehensive health education curriculum HealthSmart, students establish behaviors that will keep them safe as automobile passengers and pedestrians, at home, and during recreation. They learn fire safety procedures, rules for being safe around water or on a bicycle, the importance of safety gear, and how to think ahead to be safe. They analyze reasons for risk taking and practice emergency response procedures, resisting dares from peers and making safe decisions. These activities build skills and establish behaviors that will keep youth safe and injury free.
Violence prevention education
HealthSmart students also learn strategies for preventing, reporting and responding to bullying and cyberbullying. They take action to prevent bullying and fights in their school. They practice conflict resolution skills, learn the importance of respecting differences, and advocate for a safe and respectful school environment. At the middle and high school levels, students also learn about preventing hazing, dating violence, sexual harassment and suicide. Besides the lesson plans in HealthSmart, ETR offers a comprehensive line of bullying prevention materials.
All students deserve to be educated in a safe, positive learning environment that is free of bullying, intimidation and discrimination, and sexual and gender-based harassment. A number of studies have confirmed that LGBTQ+ youth face a range of increased risks compared with other young people. These include a greater likelihood of victimization, discrimination and violence. A range of poor health and academic outcomes are directly related to such inequities.
Studies have also shown that equitable school curricula – those that explicitly acknowledge the presence of LGBTQ+ students and recognize issues facing the LGBTQ+ community – have a positive effect on all students in a school. These include fewer homophobic remarks being made, greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ students generally, and greater school connectedness for all students.
Dating violence or intimate partner violence
Unhealthy relationships can involve emotional or physical abuse. Emotional abuse happens when someone insults, humiliates or tries to control another person. Studies show emotional abuse may occur in over 20% of relationships. Any time someone forces another person to have sex, it is sexual violence. This is also called rape. But sexual violence doesn't always include physical contact. Sexual harassment is a form of sexual violence as well.
Increasingly, educators teaching sexual risk reduction programs want to deliver information about affirmative consent, a popular standard for sexual conduct policies. Under this standard, broadly known as "Yes Means Yes," each person involved in a sexual encounter needs to be clear about giving and getting consent for any sexual activity.
A culture of consent is one in which it is the norm, and not the exception, for all persons to obtain consent prior to sexual experiences. Many educators and young adults feel this policy shift is a step in the right direction and has the potential to create positive change.