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Domestic violence awareness program 'impactful,' students say

Jamie Campbell was 28 when she nearly died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The shooting happened during a nearly 12-hour standoff with Harford Police in May 2014, as Campbell was being held hostage by her estranged husband. It ended with the man — Luis Arturo Hernandez Jr. — being shot and killed by police, and Campbell being flown to Shock Trauma.

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"He has her, he took her, he's going to kill her," Devon Rothschild, Carroll County Public Schools board member, and sister to Campbell, said. Rothschild's comments were quoting a phone call between her and her mother, and were a part of a video and program the Carroll school system has implemented.

The program, which is called S.O.S. or Students Offering Support, is for 11th- and 12th-graders. It was created by the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office. The first presentation was Thursday morning at South Carroll High School.

The goal is to help teach teens about the signs of an unhealthy relationship, and where to get help. The presentation is composed of a video interviewing Rothschild about her family's experience with domestic violence as well as two videos in which members of Foolproof, an improv group in the county, act out scenarios.

This conversation — knowing the signs of unhealthy relationships — is important, because a lot of times, friends or family don't realize something is happening, Rothschild said.

"Looking back now there were some things that seemed a little off," she said.

At the time, Rothschild said, there were red flags. She saw less and less of her sister. Her sister wouldn't return her calls. She didn't get to meet her sister's boyfriend for months before the two finally married.

And then, Hernandez started hitting Campbell, Rothschild said.

"It went on like that for a while," she said. "I would hear those stories [about the abuse] every couple of months."

Rothschild and other family members tried to talk to Campbell, but each time she explained away and downplayed the abuse.

"As time went on … you're not sure how to help that person," she said.

The auditorium was quiet as the video ended, before applause broke out at South Carroll. For the teens, Thursday's assembly made them think.

Emily Mills, 17, said the program was informative. The videos really had a big impact on her, the senior said.

"[Domestic violence is] not something you really talk about," Mills said.

She's happy she has a better understanding of the warning signs, and how to help friends and herself if they ever find themselves in this type of situation, she said.

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"It's good that they did this assembly," Mills added.

Eleventh-grader Juliza Majano agreed. The assembly helped her learn some things about domestic violence and teen dating violence that she didn't know, Majano, 17, said.

"It was really impactful," she said. "[The videos] were great in making a point."

And that's the hope.

Rothschild said in an interview with the Times Thursday she feels grateful to be able to tell her sister's story.

"I just hope that it can make a difference to even one person," she added.

Students Offering Support is set to continue throughout all Carroll County high schools over the next few months. In addition to the presentation, representatives from public health organizations in the county are present at each assembly to answer questions or offer support. Students are also given a card with information about local resources.

emily.chappell@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-7862

twitter.com/emilychappell13

S.O.S.

The remaining Students Offering Support assembly dates in Carroll: Westminster High School on Dec. 6; Century High School on Dec. 7; Manchester Valley High School on Dec. 15; the Carroll County Career and Technology Center, Gateway High School on Jan. 12; Winters Mill High School on Feb. 14; Francis Scott Key High School on Feb. 27 and Liberty High School on March 8.



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