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Syracuse High School Athletes Can Learn Lessons on the Field About Domestic Violence

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Syracuse High School athletes are having talks about violence when they are not on the playing field.

The Syracuse School District is working with the local non-profit Vera House on “Coaching Boys into Men”.

It’s a violence prevention program that allows high school coaches to speak with male athletes about things like abusive language, the meaning of consent and accountability.

Nottingham high school football starting center Joseph Bell says he thinks the program will be a great opportunity.

"We have a lot of kids, especially a lot of athletes playing football and it will be a good program for them.  Everybody follows the football team like if we do something good then they're going to want to do it too."

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
George Kilpatrick (left) introduced "Coaching Boys into Men" to Syracuse Schools. Athletic Director Chris Hodge (center) and Nottingham Basketball Coach Mark La Clair are embracing the program.

  Vera House Men’s Outreach coordinator George Kilpatrick agrees that these lessons could spread throughout the school and the community.

He says coaches are asked to speak with athletes for 15 minutes or more a week in the beginning of practice.

"We think that sports is a very important vehicle to get this message across because  if we can change the attitudes there, if you can start with the influence  a football team has, then it can trickle down and spread throughout the student population."

The nationwide program was launched in 2001 and since then thousands of coaches have signed up. Coaching Boys into Men will begin at Nottingham High School in late August during football season. 

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.