The Walpole Alcohol and Drug Coalition welcomed Walpole parents and students to attend an informative presentation on teen dating violence and public safety on Feb. 28 in the Walpole High School auditorium.
To start the night, Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael spoke about various public safety threats, specifically about the crippling problems for Walpole youth. Carmichael touched upon certain issues such as larceny, drug usage and vapes.
After Carmichael’s presentation, Dr. Malcolm L. Astley began his presentation. While speaking to members of the Walpole community, Astley educated the audience on positive teen relationships and violence prevention following the murder of his daughter, Lauren Dunne Astley, six years ago by her former boyfriend.
“My focus tonight is on the important, tough matters of dating and break up violence, their causes and, most important, their prevention, in the interest of positive, rewarding relationships, and also safe and effective partings which are a necessary if challenging part of life for all of us,” Astley said.
His daughter had graduated from Wayland High School and was set to attend Elon University in North Carolina in the fall. Throughout high school, she was involved in an acapella group at school, played on the tennis team and enjoyed the performing arts, starring as Annie in the Weston Friendly Society of the Performing Arts.
By sharing her story to the audience, he educated people on potential warning signs of dating and breakup violence. In the future, Astley hoped to see more men discuss the issue of dating violence and form groups and come together, as he believed the task should not solely fall on women.
“We need further, I think, to name and dismantle the hard to see cultural grooming and training of our boys and men toward domination and subjugation or the putting down of others, and impulsive and violent action toward others and sometimes themselves,” Astley said.
The night was concluded by a panel open for the audience to ask questions. Astley and Carmichael took part in the discussion, along with other prominent members of Walpole Public Schools.
The Walpole Alcohol and Drug Coalition hopes to work with parents in the future by coming together and holding another meeting in the near future.
“And as we say in memory of Lauren, and her sparkle and confidence, and in respect of the unique sparkle in each of our youth and in each of you,” Astley said. “Keep on sparkling! Keep on sparkling!”