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Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework - October 1999

Safety and Prevention Strand

Safety and Prevention includes those aspects of health most often related to risky and dangerous behaviors and conduct that can have negative life-long consequences on health. The topics are of particular importance for young people who are at the age when many of these behaviors are being contemplated. The knowledge and skills presented in the Personal Safety Strand provide a means for young people to avoid risky behavior, now and in the future, so that they can lead healthier lives.

The Strand of Safety and Prevention includes:

  • Disease Prevention and Control
  • Safety and Injury Prevention
  • Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Use/Abuse Prevention
  • Violence Prevention

Disease Prevention and Control focuses on factors contributing to chronic, degenerative, and communicable diseases, genetic factors, methods for detection, and strategies for prevention. Attention to these factors is present in many of the other areas in the Framework as well.

Safety and Injury Prevention includes information to promote knowledge and skills for personal safety and prevention and treatment of intentional or unintentional injury.

Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Use/Abuse Prevention addresses safe and unsafe substances, how these substances can affect the body and health, and the significance of drug dependence.

Violence Prevention addresses verbal and physical actions that bring harm to a person's body, feelings, or possessions and the aspects of sound character and conflict resolution that can reduce the incidence and influence of violence on individuals, families, and communities.

The Safety and Prevention Strand is designed to help students examine how they make decisions and weigh the probable consequences of their actions. Students consider risk in their personal lives, including the need to take risks such as standing up for one's opinion and the need to avoid other risks associated with dangerous situations or actions. The purpose of this Strand is to inform students so they may apply and defend health-enhancing decisions.

Note: Selected examples are provided.

"How It Looks In the Classroom"
Suggested Activity for the Safety & Prevention Strand

Mr. Bradley's health class sometimes sounds like a movie set. Students raise their voices in role-play as Alicia and her friends argue about accepting a ride home from Mike who is drunk and refuses to let Tommy drive his car for him. Mike and Alicia's friends try to reason with Mike who takes hold of Alicia's arm. "Cut!" Mr. Bradley stops the action and begins a class discussion of the situation: What were the individual characters thinking and feeling? Why did some onlookers intervene and others move out of the way? What risks were involved--for Alicia? for Mike? for Tommy? What other strategies might have helped in this situation? Using role-play, the class is able to practice dealing with the decisions and the risks they may face in real life situations. Students choose between various writing assignments such as writing different endings for the situation with an interpretation based on the questions raised by the oral discussion or to research and write a report on adolescent drinking and driving.

This activity can help students reinforce or achieve the following learning standards in this and in the other Frameworks:

Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Use/Abuse Prevention:
  • influence of substances
  • making informed decisions
Safety and Injury Prevention:
  • personal responsibility
  • accidents and injuries
Violence Prevention:
  • refusal skills
Interpersonal Relationships:
  • purpose of friendship
History and Social Science: History:
  • individual choices, action, and character
English Language Arts: Composition:
  • research open-ended questions


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Last Updated: October 1, 1999
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