Cadets, grad students to take Stewards of Children training
The Citadel School of Education and Darkness to Light announced today a joint initiative aimed at preventing child sexual abuse. The pilot program could set an example for other Lowcountry colleges and colleges nationwide.
The Citadel is now offering the Stewards of Children® child sexual abuse prevention training program to its cadets and graduate students enrolled in the School of Education. Developed by Darkness to Light™, Stewards of Children teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
“This program will empower the cadets, staff and faculty to use the lessons learned in their personal and professional lives long after they leave The Citadel,” said Stephenie Hewett, associate professor in the School of Education. “It also will also enable The Citadel to continue developing a culture where sexual harassment and assault are less likely to occur.”
About 400 students in the School of Education – about 75 cadets and 325 graduate students – started the training this fall. The program has been incorporated into existing classes that all education school majors must take to graduate. Plans are under way to incorporate the Stewards of Children training so that the entire 2,000 members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets participate before they graduate.
The Stewards of Children training program, while different in its focus, goes hand-in-hand with The Citadel’s Values and Respect Program, a college-wide initiative to strengthen the character development process within The Citadel Experience. An integrated, co-curricular program, the Values and Respect Program focuses education and training in honor, sexual assault and sexual harassment, alcohol and substance abuse, human dignity and leadership development.
The Values and Respect Program was developed in 2006 after a survey of cadets on gender relations and campus climate issues. The survey results included data that cadets – both women and men – at The Citadel are not unlike their counterparts at other colleges nationwide; they have been victims of sexual harassment and or sexual assault, they have abused alcohol and drugs and have struggled with honor issues during their college careers.
Also during today’s event, representatives the Medical University of South Carolina, Trident Technical College, the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University agreed to consider how their institutions can incorporate the Stewards of Children program into their respective curriculums.
“Charleston and the Lowcountry can be an example for the rest of the country; we have the resources here to do it,” Hewitt told the group. “I think we can, working together, come up with an impressive program that could serve as a flagship example for others.”