COMMUNITY GEM: Springboro mom, educator fights for Erin’s Law

Siara Akers has done ‘extraordinary things for the community’

Siara Akers was once a student at Springboro Community City School District, and now her two kids are, too.

And thanks to Akers’ advocacy of “Erin’s Law,” she says millions of students throughout Springboro and across the state will be safer at their own schools.

“This will save so many little girls,” said Akers, 35, who also is a tech lab teacher at Five Points Elementary School in the district.

Erin’s Law mandates that schools provide instruction in sexual abuse prevention to students in grades K-6, and in sexual violence prevention education in grades 7-12. A bill to adopt Erin’s Law in Ohio was introduced after an abuse case that resulted in a gym teacher in the Springboro district being convicted on 34 counts of gross sexual imposition involving 27 first-grade girls.

Akers said she wracked her brain wondering how this could have happened and how to prevent it from occurring again. She came across Erin’s Law – which has passed in some form in more than 35 states – and emailed state Rep. Scott Lipps, R-Franklin, late one night in June 2019.

By the next morning, he had given his word that it would become a law in Ohio, too. Lipps became a sponsor of the bill with now-former Rep. Brigid Kelly, D-Cincinnati.

Akers, who also is a child abuse survivor, traveled to Columbus several times to testify in favor of the bill. It was eventually added to another bill that passed in December, and it took effect earlier this year.

Although it took so many years to accomplish, Akers called the process “empowering.” She watched others testify who once thought of themselves as victims and now see themselves as survivors. And she saw for herself how average people can amplify their voices and make a change.

“I’m just a mom living in the community,” she said.

Fred Akers said his daughter-in-law is anything but average. Akers, who also lives in Springboro, nominated her as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem.

“I think that she has been doing extraordinary things for the community,” he said.

In addition to her advocacy, he pointed to an incident earlier this year, when she was working as a building aide at Five Points Elementary and performed the Heimlich maneuver on a student who was choking on his salad.

The boy’s face was turning red and purple as he was holding his neck. She ran to him, performed the procedure, and she said it was all over in about 10 seconds. It was the first time she had ever used the Heimlich maneuver.

She also is active throughout the community, including as team mom for her 7-year-old son’s football team and supporting her 11-year-old daughter, who is a cheerleader. She was a substitute teacher before becoming a building aide last year. Earning the tech ed job this year accomplished a long-held dream of becoming an educator.

Fred Akers sees how important it is to his daughter-in-law to improve her community.

“The things she’s done are so big, it’s hard to really do them justice,” he said.

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