One U.S. State's Public Schools Offer Curriculum on Dating Violence
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 11:22 AM

A new Rhode Island state law is the first in the nation to require the inclusion of information on dating violence in health classes for grades seven through twelve. The Lindsay Ann Burke Act, named for a 23-year-old killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2005, also mandates training for school administrators, teachers, nurses, and mental health practitioners. The Act requires school districts to create a dating violence policy which must be made known to parents.

The provision requiring schools to incorporate dating violence into their health education curriculums has received mixed responses. Some criticize that the new law will not provide extra funding to schools who are already strapped for cash. A positive aspect of the law is that schools that previously did not allow domestic violence educators into the classrooms may start to bring in agencies to assist with the curriculum. Schools can also utilize a model curriculum created by the Rhode Island Department of Education. (PDF, 52 pages.)

The law will help inform students about the prevalence of dating violence and ways to avoid it. Advocates of the law hope that other U.S. states will follow suit and enact their own laws to help teens learn about the dangers of dating violence.

Compiled from: Littlefield, Amy, “R.I. Offers Lesson Plan on Teen Dating Violence,” Women’s eNews  (21 October 2008).