A national association that provides training to high school athletic coaches said it will provide lessons on sexual-violence prevention following the conviction of two Steubenville, Ohio, football players on rape charges earlier this year.
A petition asking for training for coaches on change.org gathered nearly 68,000 signatures. The petition was started by a college football player and a rape survivor.
"I'm excited and hopeful that we will see a change in the culture of athletes across the nation. This wouldn't have been possible without the [National Federation of State High School Associations], and I can not thank them enough for being leaders in educating young men about rape," said Connor Clancy, a football player at Colby College, in Waterville, Maine.
In the Steubenville case, high school students Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond were convicted of raping a 16-year-old woman from West Virginia while she was too drunk to resist at a party just before the start of this school year. The night of partying began at the home of a Steubenville High School football coach. The two were not allowed on the team this year, but other players who witnessed the events were.
Courses available at nfhslearn.com will have information about supervising and protecting students, said Tim Flannery, the director of coaches' education at the National Federation of State High School Associations. The new resources will be available at no cost to coaches in over 18,500 schools.
Partnering groups will provide resources for high school coaches on preventing sexual violence and talking to student athletes to raise awareness about rape, and encouraging them to become engaged bystanders who intervene before, during, or after something happens, said Katie Hanna, executive director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence.