February is National Teen Dating Violence and Awareness Prevention Month (TDVAM) and Hidalgo ISD’s Early College High School partnered with the local Sherrif’s Department to address the importance of teen dating abuse.
“This collaboration with community agencies was very important because together, we can raise awareness about teen dating violence and promote the building of healthy relationships,” said Amando Gonzalez, Hidalgo ISD Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). “We also informed students and their families of the support system that’s available to them on campus and in the community that help pillar their wellness and mental health.”
Over 400 students attended the TDVAM workshop held at Hidalgo Early College High School (HECHS). Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department Victim Liaisons and deputies spoke about the awareness, preventions, and interventions available to victims of teen dating violence. The district extended the invitation to the community to take part in providing community awareness of support for mental health to our students and their families.
“The teen dating violence helped me understand the importance of respect, love and safety withing a relationship,” stated freshman, Teo Garcia. “It helped me to also identify teen dating violence if I were to see/experience it firsthand and speak about it because no one deserves to be emotionally, verbally, physically and/or sexually abuse.” Teen dating violence is more common than you may think, especially among teens and young adults. This is an issue that impacts everyone; parents, friends, teachers and communities.
For Hidalgo ISD, it’s crucial that students are well informed about the resources available to them within their campus and their community to help bring attention to this serious matter. “Prevention is the key to improving decision making, and we want to educate our students on the risks of an unhealthy relationship, so they can make informed decisions in their social and emotional self-care,” added Gonzalez.
The following topics were addressed during the workshop that were provided to students about the awareness of dating violence; the statistics, definitions of abuse in relationships, the focus on awareness of teen and dating violence, laws on dating violence/stalking/assault and other forms of abuse, self-care and victim services, and support groups in Hidalgo County.
“The teen dating violence workshop was very informative,” said sophomore, Kayla Covarrubias. “The manipulative/psychological abuse stood out the most for me because although it is very common in relationships it is not talked about it often, and many individuals don’t set healthy boundaries from the start either because they may not be well informed, or aware of such behavior.”
Gonzalez informed the community and parents that more workshops will continue to be scheduled for students and parents throughout the remainder of the school year to raise awareness through advocacy and education.
“We are thankful that Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department is playing an important role in helping educate our youth on the risk factors and consequences of teen and dating violence,” Gonzalez concluded.