Independence House staff is facilitating the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) evidence based structured curriculum in Barnstable High School, Falmouth High School, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School and Dennis-Yarmouth High School, intended to prevent violence, teen dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender stereotyping. With this training, students work independently throughout the school year on projects that empower them and raise awareness among their peers on these topics.
MVP student presidents of four high schools demonstrated the change they wished to see during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month by actively protesting the appearance of a well known performer’s concert. Singer Don McLean, best known for his song “American Pie” was scheduled to appear at Barnstable High School in April. Soon after his arrest on domestic violence charges in January, the MVP students gathered and addressed a letter to the interim superintendent, William Butler of Barnstable Schools in an effort to keep the concert from happening in their community.
As cited in their letter, the students indicated they do not consider Don McLean a legend. “We believe Mr. McLean is a bad role model”. “We believe his appearance on Cape Cod would be a mistake and payment to Mr. McLean for his entertainment enables him to continue a lifestyle we do not agree with”.
The letter drew local media’s attention and Cape Cod Broadcasting Media published an article which was picked up by the Associated Press. Thereafter, it drew national attention and a wave of articles from numerous media outlets. In response to the request and the media attention, on March 2, McLean’s management cancelled the concert. Male student presidents of Barnstable High and Cape Cod Regional Technical High Schools were in attendance at the White Ribbon Day event held in Yarmouth the following morning and made the announcement in public. White Ribbon Day brings men together to stand in solidarity in opposition of violence towards women.
We applaud these students for utilizing their MVP training and taking a stand against domestic violence to make a difference in their community. These students truly embodied the theme of our 2nd annual Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, “We Are The Change”.
Links to articles and student letter
Opinion pieces with support for the student’s efforts