CLEVELAND — The No. 2 pencils are sharpened, the fresh kicks are still nice and clean and the camera is in focus for front porch pictures.
Back-to-school is always an exciting time, but it can also bring its fair share of stress.
It's a kind of stress that parents don’t have to tackle alone.
Megan Williams, the Director of Education and Outreach at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center reveals "95% of child abuse is preventable through education."
"Post pandemic we've seen a lot of behaviors, unhealthy behaviors increasing and very visible in the schools as a result of the pandemic. We've definitely seen an increase within the past year or so with the demand for programming that we've been delivering within the schools," said Williams.
Programming would help students identify unhealthy relationships.
"Intimate partner relationships or even just a friendship as well," said Williams.
Not only would it help them identify unhealthy relationships, but it would also increase awareness of harmful situations towards others.
"So, how to effectively and safely intervene when you see someone potentially in a harmful situation," said Williams.
Williams and her team want every parent to add this conversation to the back-to-school checklist.
"The earlier the conversation the better," said Williams.
Open dialogue that includes everyday consent and healthy boundaries for all ages.
"By the time someone enters college this is the first time they're hearing this information and it really shouldn't be," said Williams.
As for younger children, Williams said body safety and correct body terminology should be discussed.
"Opening the door to the conversation and normalizing the conversation is so very important. From there, I think that children will be more open," said Williams.
While the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center offers school-based programming for students and staff, caregivers can also get the help they may need breaking the ice.
"We do also have programs that help to support the parents in having these difficult and sometimes challenging conversations. These are conversations we want to start at home,” said Williams.
Conversations such as these could help keep their child safe.