Florida Board of Education unanimously approved mandating that all school districts in the state create lesson plans from kindergarten to 12th grade for human trafficking prevention.
Collier County Public School already teaches high school students about the warning signs and dangers of human trafficking. As for elementary and middle school students, Collier said the Florida Board of Education is reviewing its submitted plans to offer a human trafficking curriculum for younger students.
Parents we spoke to are looking forward to the changes. Jacklynn Brennan makes the message clear for her 7-year-old son, Cody, who is on the autism spectrum.
“No talking to strangers,” Jacklynn tells her son. “Our kids need to know what goes on in the world, to be aware of that.”
Brennan, a mother of two children, told us she knows these tragedies happen at any age and to the most vulnerable.
“We still try to have those conversations with him,” Brennan said. “Even though … he’s autistic. People think he’s not going to understand but you still have to try.”
According to Florida Department of Education, Florida is third in the country for reported human trafficking cases. And in 2018, there were 767 reported human trafficking cases. And in 2018, there were 767 reported, 20 percent involved minors.
“This is the world we live in,” said Brittany Mounteer, a mother of two children. “And I’m just telling our children to simply stay away from strangers is not adequate.”
Mounteer wishes her children didn’t have to grow up in a world where the prevalence of human trafficking was so great. To the point, she must teach her young children about it for their own awareness and safety.
Collier County Public School said FDEP will offer them important guidance, but, no matter what, they’re going to continue to prioritize these topics and make them relevant with curriculum and standards.
“I’m supportive of whatever they decide to do, which I will make sure that I reinforce some of that education at home with my child when the day comes,” Mounteer said.