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School-based dating abuse prevention laws by State

Blog post

Many states have passed legislation to address dating abuse in schools. Here is a summary of some of the significant laws by state, in alphabetical order.

California, once a leader in dating abuse prevention legislation, is now begin to lag behind.

Arizona: After “Kaity’s Law” was passed in 2009, SB 1308 (2010): Permits a school district to adopt dating abuse policies and to incorporate dating violence education into health curricula for grades 7-12. Requires every school district in AZ to review and consider the adoption of dating abuse curriculum and policies by June 30, 2011.

Connecticut: HB 5315 (2010): Includes teen dating violence and domestic violence education as part of the in-service training program for certified teachers, administrators and pupil personnel. HB 5246 (2010): Requires the Commissioner of Public Health to develop one public service announcement issued by the Department of Public Health through a televised broadcast for the purpose of preventing teen dating and family violence.

Delaware: SCR 21 (2009) establishes a teen dating violence task force to evaluate and make recommendations on policies for education on teen dating violence. 

Florida: SB 642 and HB 467 (2010) (Chapter 217): Requires comprehensive health education taught in the public schools to include a component on teen dating violence and abuse for students in grades 7 through 12. Requires district school boards to adopt and implement a dating violence and abuse policy and provides policy requirements. Requires the Department of Education to develop a model policy that includes school personnel training.

Georgia: SB346 (2009): Requires the State Board of Education to add a teen dating violence prevention program to the rape prevention and personal safety education program for grades 8 through 12. Local boards may implement such programs at any time and for any grade level local boards find appropriate, and the state board shall encourage the implementation of such programs. In addition, the state board shall make information regarding such programs available to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Illinois: HB 0973 (2009): Adds teen dating violence to the list of topics which may be covered in a Comprehensive Health Program for grades 8 – 12. SB 2023/HB 1330 (2007) requires the BOE to convene an Ensuring Success in School Task Force to develop policies and procedures for addressing the educational and related needs of youth who are parents, expectant parents, or victims of domestic violence or sexual violence to ensure their ability to stay in school. 

Indiana: SB 316 (2010): “Heather’s Law,” named after a young woman who was physically abused and ultimately murdered by her ex-boyfriend. The department, in collaboration with organizations that have expertise in dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual abuse, shall identify or develop: (1) model dating violence educational materials; and (2) a model for dating violence response policies.

Louisiana: HB 46 (2010): Requires each public school to provide dating violence education as part of its health curriculum in grades 7-12.

Maine: (2009) Directs the DOE to review its policies and rules regarding faculty and student training on the topic of dating abuse and to review its administrative policies to determine which address dating abuse. 

Maryland: (2009): Encourages schools to adopt age appropriate dating violence education into the school curricula.

Massachusetts: SB 2583 requires school districts to implement a specific policy to address teen dating violence in public schools. These policies are required to clearly state that teen dating violence will not be tolerated, and need to include guidelines for addressing alleged incidents. SB 2404 (2010) requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish standards for introduction in a number of topics, including teen dating violence prevention.

Nebraska: LB 63, The Lindsay Ann Burke Act (2009): Requires DOE to develop and adopt a TDV policy by certain date to help individual school districts in developing their own policy. Requires each school district to adopt a policy for educating staff and all students about TDV. Requires schools to include policies around TDV in all student conduct publications. Each school district shall provide dating violence training to staff deemed appropriate by a school district’s administration. Each school district shall inform the students’ parents or legal guardians of the school district’s dating violence policy. Each school district shall incorporate dating violence education that is age-appropriate into the school program.

New Hampshire: HCR (2009) endorses Rhode Island’s Lindsey Ann Burke act and encourages the New Hampshire DOE to devise and implement teen dating violence policies. 

New Jersey: SB 487/AB 3081 (2010) Allows schools to teach about domestic violence, dating violence and child abuse in school curricula.

New Mexico: HM 53 (2009): Requests that the Public Education Department and Department of Health convene a working group to study and develop recommendations regarding prevention of teen dating violence in New Mexico.

New York: (three pending bills) SB 708 and AB 4596 (“Jessica Tush Act”) would require dating violence education and dating violence policies in school districts. SB 3079 would establish the temporary state commission on intimate partner violence (including dating violence) to study, report on and make recommendations on the prevalence, causes, effects, risks and costs of such violence. 

Ohio: HB19 (2009) “Tina Croucher Act” requires the BOE to develop a model dating violence policy and each local BOE to adopt a dating violence policy to address incidents of dating violence. The policy must include a statement that dating violence will not be tolerated, reporting procedures, and guidelines to responding to incidents of dating violence and discipline procedures specific to at-school incidents. The boards of education are required o train school staff to address dating violence. The bill also requires age age-appropriate instruction in dating violence prevention education in grades 7-12, including in recognizing dating violence warning signs and characteristics of healthy relationships. 

Oregon: HB 4077(2012) requires school boards to develop programs to educate students about dating violence and authorizes the Oregon Department of Justice and the Oregon Department of Human Services to allocate funding to help combat the problem. 

Pennsylvania: HB 101 (2010) amends the terms and courses of study in the Public School Code of 1949 and provides for dating violence education.

Rhode Island: SB 875 (2007) and HB 6166 (2009): Establishes the” Lindsay Anne Burke Act” which requires the Department of Education to develop a model dating violence policy to assist school districts in developing policies for dating violence reporting and response. Each school district’s policy should include a policy for responding to incidents of dating violence and to provide dating violence education to students, parents, staff, faculty and administrators, in order to prevent dating violence and to address incidents involving dating violence.

Tennessee: SB 595 (2006) encourages but does not require the DOE to develop a sexual and dating violence curriculum for students in grades 7-12. The curriculum should include instruction on dating violence and sexual violence, prevention strategies, and resources. 

Texas: HB 2496 (2011) creates a teen dating violence court program that includes a 12-week course to educate children who engage in dating violence and encourage them to refrain from engaging in that conduct; also provides for the deferral of adjudication and dismissal of certain dating violence cases. HB 121 (2009) requires each school district to adopt and implement a dating violence policy. The policies must address: safety planning, enforcement of orders of protection, training for school staff, counseling for students, and awareness education for students and parents.

Utah: HCR 2 (2009): This concurrent resolution of the legislature and governor encourages the Utah State Board of Education and Utah State Board of Regents to ensure that all middle school, junior high school, senior high school and post-secondary education programs provide materials and services on domestic and dating violence. 

Virginia: SB 906 (2011) requires that any family life education curriculum offered by a local school division is to include the standards of learning objectives related to dating violence and the characteristics of abusive relationships to be taught at least once in middle school and at least twice in high school. HB 1916 (2007): Adds dating violence and characteristics of abusive relationships to the Board of Education’s standards of learning and curriculum guidelines for family life education curriculum in grades K through 12.

Washington: HB 1252 (2005): Requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop a model family preservation curriculum that includes, but is not limited to, instruction on developing conflict management skills, communication skills, domestic violence and dating violence, financial responsibility, and parenting responsibility.