Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ridge View High School students push for passage of teen domestic violence law

Ridge View High School students are raising awareness of teen relationship violence and pushing for the passage of legislation that would provide their peers with protection. On Wednesday, students will participate in a news conference organized by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott to encourage the legislature to pass Sierra's Law, which among other things would allow restraining orders to be filed by minors who are 16 years of age or older and create teen dating violence education programs within South Carolina schools. The news conference will be held at 2 p.m. at the front entrance of Ridge View High School, located at 4801 Hard Scrabble Rd, Columbia, 29229.

As they embarked on the 2015–2016 school year, students from Ridge View High's Scholars Academy for Business and Law were in search of an issue to promote. Sierra Landry's story resonated with the group because she was like them. Landry was an 18-year-old who liked to have fun, enjoyed her friends and had her entire life ahead of her. Her ex-boyfriend shot and killed her in 2013 after she broke up with him. As students learned more about the case, they were shocked to discover that not only were teens often victims of violence in relationships, but that there was little protection for them.

Their efforts to educate their peers about the dangers of teen dating violence have been covered by the local media. In February, the group received a resolution from the Richland County Council sponsored by Councilwoman Julie-Ann Dixon in support of their work and in recognition of February as teen dating violence education month in Richland County. That same month they held a public form on the topic at a local church.

From the End Teen Relationship Violence website: Our objective is to raise awareness of Teen Relationship Violence and advocate for the passage of Sierra's Law. We also promote healthy relationships and tips to maintain healthy relationships. We are here to represent teenagers around South Carolina, nationally, and the world. 

Visit the End Teen Dating Violence website for statistics, victim stories, resources and to sign the petition to pass Sierra's Law. Follow the group on Twitter at @EndTRViolence.

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