COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Tierra King and Madeline Hahn are just days away from graduation, but they and a group of other seniors at Ridge View High School are leaving behind a legacy.
"We've been working on this for so long and so hard, and we've just been very adamant about it. Even the littlest bit of recognition gets us excited," Hahn said.
Thanks in part to Ridge View's Scholars Academy, South Carolina teens are a big step closer to having new protections against dating violence. For years, they've been pushing state lawmakers to act on that after a series of recent tragedies.
"Our bill would allow teenagers to get an order of protection. It has been changed a little bit, because they were not comfortable with them just going without an adult, so if there is a situation where they are in absolute danger, they can go without an adult and get it, but mostly likely, they'll need an adult to go with them to get a restraining order," King said.
The bill also includes a classroom component to teach students about what teen dating violence looks like.
"I have personally dealt with unhealthy relationships myself," Hahn said.
After years of work, multiple forums, lots of public speaking, and some failure, this week the students saw state senators unanimously pass the bill. Now, it heads to the house, and even after graduation, the students will still be involved.
"Just not giving up and not getting discouraged and frustrated when things don't necessarily go your way, I think that is the best piece of advice I can give you," King said.
The seniors said it was encouraging to see Republican Senator Katrina Shealy work with Democratic Senator Mia McLeod in sponsoring their bill. Shealy, by the way, said she expects it'll easily pass the House in part two of the two-year legislative session, which begins next January.