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Local group hopes to get ahead of domestic violence, abuse in classroom

Posted at 1:28 PM, Mar 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-13 14:28:33-04

A local group aims to curb domestic violence and how it impacts children in our community. This group says it all begins with teachers recognizing the signs of violence and abuse in the classroom.

Dr. Nancy Vera, the President of the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers, says some of the signs include bullying, fighting, or being withdrawn at school. Despite the violence and abuse occurring at home, students are bringing these behaviors with them to the classroom.

“Our children are expressing themselves behavioral wise,” said Dr. Vera. “We have teenage violence that is seeping into our classroom.”

So now, the local AFT would like for educators to get special training to recognize the signs of domestic violence.

“Teachers must have the autonomy be able to establish relationships with their children,” said Dr. Vera. “So we can meet them (children) where they are.”

The AFT is working closely with organizations like the state and nationwide AFT, the South Texas Human Rights Center, and The Purple Door.

The purple door is a local organization that supports family violence victims. Frances Wilson, the president and CEO of the organization, says one third of the victims they help are children. They provide resources, one-on-one counseling, and a hotline for these victims. Plus, they participate in violence prevention programs in CCISD schools.

“If we don’t start intervening with children when they’re young,” said Wilson. “Violence is just going to continue to be a generational problem.”

Now, the local AFT wants to provide similar resources, in hopes of getting ahead of the domestic violence issue.

“Our children come first and we must be there for them,” said Dr. Vera.

“Anything we can do to help make it easier for teachers, and help identify those kids that may need help, we’re definitely there,” said Wilson.

The local AFT says they hope this initiative moves forward with CCISD. Meanwhile, the group plans to hold a domestic abuse and violence meeting, where they will invite teachers, law enforcement and elected officials. Right now, there is no time and place for that meeting.