Measure Would Require School Districts to Provide Dating Violence Education

WALL, NJ - Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini that would direct the Department of Education to develop a school district dating violence policy and requires school districts to provide dating violence education in the health curriculum has been approved by the Assembly Education Committee.

“As the instances of dating violence increase it becomes apparent that serious measures need to be taken to combat the problem in our schools,” said Angelini. “Including dating violence in the health education curriculum is an important first step in protecting our children from experiencing and being exposed to dating violence.”

Current law states that a board of education may include instruction on the problems of domestic violence and child abuse in an appropriate place in the curriculum of elementary, middle, and high school students, but it is not required.

The bill, A-2920, requires the Board of Education to develop a policy to prevent and address dating violence at school and to develop dating violence training materials to be posted on its website. In addition, schools are required to implement the policy and inform parents of students enrolled in grades 7 through 12 about the policy, incorporate dating violence education into the health education curriculum as part of the implementation of the core curriculum content standards, and provide students with a copy of the policy.

“There is a critical need for dating violence education in our schools,” said Angelini. “Young people need to be made aware of the signs and procedures of reporting dating violence as well as the fact that dating violence will not be tolerated.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a nationwide survey of students in grades 9-12, nearly one in 10 students reported being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once in the past 12 months.

The bill now heads to the full Assembly for a vote.