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Local high school students raise awareness of domestic violence

Domestic Violence PSAs

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Topics like domestic violence and sexual abuse would be hard for anyone to deal with, let alone teenagers. Students at Compass Academy in Idaho Falls are tackling the subject matter head-on.

"For some of them these things are conflict or something that they have dealt with or maybe will deal with in the future," said Kendra Leisher, a health and physical education teacher at Compass Academy.

Freshmen at the school were tasked with learning about the health and biological components of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

"We knew that it was a heavy subject and that the kids were going to get into some really uncomfortable conversations," said Darcy Aspinall, a biology facilitator at Compass Academy. "That's actually what we called the project, 'Awkward Conversations.'"

To get a better understanding of the subject, Aspinall and Leisher sought help from the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center in Idaho Falls.

"They brought up a lot of good questions and they were a great resource for the kids," Aspinall said.

Aspinall's husband has worked in creating public service announcements for the center. She figured that might be an interesting way to get the kids more involved in the topic. The students were assigned to create their own PSA's that could appear on TV or the internet.

"It allowed them to get more creative and challenge themselves (by) learning how to do video editing, putting something together, making it look professional and having an actual client," Leisher said.

Students were allowed to choose whatever topic they wanted, as long it dealt with the theme of domestic violence. There were some about stalking, sexting, child abuse and more.

"They have a pretty savvy understanding about dating violence, domestic violence (and) sexual assault," said Teena McBride, the executive director of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Center in Idaho Falls.

The center wanted the students to gear their messages toward people their own age. 

"They may not have all the experience, but they're bright, they're smart and they're willing to help," McBride said.

The first PSA that is running for the month of June is on stalking. The Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Center said other commercials will run throughout the rest of the year.

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