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LAUSD Passes $2 Million Program to Tackle Domestic Violence In Wake of Fatal Stabbing

Screenshot (ABC 7)
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After one of its students was stabbed to death by her boyfriend during lunchtime on campus, the Los Angeles Unified School District is finally — after a decade in the works — expanding its program to tackle teen violence.

On Tuesday, the board passed a $2 million program aimed at preventing teen violence, according to ABC 7.

An expansion of the district's already-existing program had been in the works for a decade, but Cindi Santana's death at the hands of her ex-boyfriend gave the proposal more urgency.

"There's a kind of irony to the fact that this tragedy happened just as we were about to get to this place. But we are here now, and it is a wakeup call, and it is a call to action," said Patti Giggans, the executive director of the program Peace Over Violence.

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Her organization told the Los Angeles Times that violence in teen relationships is a widespread problem:

About one in three adolescent girls in the U.S. has been physically, emotionally or verbally abused by a dating partner, and one in 10 high school students has been hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Giggans said teaching young people early the warning signs of an abusive relationship — and the tools to develop safe ones — will help set the course for healthy relationships in the future.

The fact that some people on a Facebook page dedicated to Santana blamed her — calling her out as an alleged cheater after her death — perhaps underscores the need for this sort of awareness in the schools, according to the Huffington Post. (And so, too, might the teen reaction to Chris Brown's relationship with Rihanna).

The program is also supposed to designate someone on every campus, who is trained to handle such situations.

"To students out there who today feel afraid, uncomfortable, insecure, know that something is just not right, please say something. Don't be silent," Zimmer told ABC 7.

Of course, Santana wasn't silent. Santana and her mother were well aware that Santana's ex Abraham Lopez was a dangerous man. Her mother had warned the school that Lopez had previously been arrested and then released after threatening Santana.

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