Parents of slain teenager plead for dating violence awareness

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BOSTON -- The parents of a teenager whose former high school boyfriend was convicted of her murder urged state lawmakers Tuesday to require that dating violence prevention be included as part of health and sex education programs in public schools.

Police said Lauren Dunne Astley, 18, was stabbed and strangled, and her body dumped in a marshy area of her hometown of Wayland, an upscale Boston suburb, in July 2011. Nathaniel Fujita was convicted in March of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Malcolm Astley, Lauren's father, said Massachusetts lags behind a number of other states in teaching youth about maintaining healthy relationships.

Astley, a retired school principal, and Dunne, a pre-school teacher, have formed a foundation in their daughter's name to promote awareness among parents and school officials about violence in youth relationships.

The education panel is considering several bills related to sex education in public schools, including three that would require the inclusion of dating violence prevention. Supporters of the effort noted the state has not significantly updated its overall health curriculum since 1999.


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