Some students at Nash Central Junior High are painting bruises on their faces and arms Friday. It is part of an effort to show the effects of domestic violence.
With the students close to dating age, teachers believe that now is the time to teach them about the problem.
In an informal poll taken this week of about 200 students, nearly 25 percent claimed to have witnessed or experienced some type of domestic violence. While the poll was not scientific, teachers say they still have to take it seriously.
"We want to give them the guidance that they should not have to be in [an abusive situation] and accept it," adviser Sarah Hinton says. "There are ways to get help."
"We're trying to show them that they're not alone in it," says student Christina Hill. "Just because they're being abused doesn't mean that other people aren't trying to help them."
Rocky Mount's battered women's shelter, My Sister's House, has a booth set up at the school to offer more information to students.
The idea came from a group called Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. While it can make some students uncomfortable, teachers hope the message sticks with the children for years.
Domestic violence is a widespread problem. TheU.S. Department of Justiceestimates 960,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend every year.