Durant students raise awareness for domestic violence

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Tascha Bond, adviser for the student marketing organization DECA, said every year she tells her marketing students at Durant High School about her story as a domestic abuse survivor.

And the students in DECA took it to heart, choosing domestic abuse awareness as their community project.

"Knowing that someone that they respect and that someone in their classroom that they never would have been able to tell was a survivor, and a former of victim of domestic violence, really sparked that interest, and they wanted to learn more. And it just snowballed from there," she said.

On Thursday, the group took the message to their peers, presenting "Love is Not Abuse" day.

"Whether it's with their friends, or with their girlfriends or boyfriends, it's all about respect, and that's what love is about," Bond said.

DECA vice president Gabbi Ford said they want to promote healthy relationships.

"So people can really realize it's out there and it's serious, and it's something that needs to be taken care of and talked about," she said.

Mayor Jerry Tomlinson declared the day "Love is Not Abuse Day" in Durant. He joined students in signing a pledge banner.

Students who sign the banner pledge to always treat their boyfriends or girlfriends with respect and - among other things - always take responsibility for their actions. The group expects to get between 500 to 700 signatures.

Jasmine Lozano said she signed the banner because it's an important cause.

"Because I believe that it's good to have respect in the relationship, and I believe it's good to be trustworthy and honest with the person you're with."

The campaign also encouraged students to post about the event on social media to help expand the reach.

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