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Policy Protecting Students Against Dating Violence Approved

New policy outlines procedure for dealing with instances of dating violence in school system.

The Board of Education approved a policy Feb. 16 designed to prevent and educate the community about dating violence.

The policy requires that all school staff members, including support staff and volunteers, take “reasonable measures to prevent acts or incidents of dating violence at school involving a pupil.”

The policy characterizes acts or instances of dating violence as: “physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse; digital or electronic or incidents, and/or patterns of behavior which are considered threatening or controlling.”

The Board is working to incorporate age-appropriate dating violence awareness curriculum in health classes in grades seven through 12. The curriculum will teach students what dating violence is, how to recognize it, the warning signs, and “the characteristics of healthy relationships,” the policy states. Parents may examine the educational materials used in the curriculum.

Individuals must report all acts or incidents of dating violence to the school’s principal, or his or her designee, “as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the school day.” A written report of the incident must be reported no later than one day after the act or incident occurred, the policy states.

Statements and investigation files are to be kept in separate files and not with a pupil’s academic and discipline records “to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of confidential information.”

Every incident of dating violence that’s reported will include statements from the appropriate individuals, planning actions, disciplinary measures, and counseling or other support resources that are offered both to the victim and aggressor.

The consequences of dating violence include: temporary removal from a class, classroom or administrative detention, in-school and out-of-school suspensions, and expulsion. Instances of dating violence may also be reported to the police.

TheThe policy will appear in all district publications that contain rules, procedures, and standards of conduct for pupils and in district handbooks.

The Board will provide students and their families resources on how to address dating violence if they are requested.

Superintendent Ray Gonzalez and Board President Donald Pavlak Jr. could not be reached for comment on the policy.

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