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Nikkia Rowe, the principal of Renaissance Academy High School in West Baltimore, teaches a dating-abuse-prevention curriculum to ninth-graders.
Violence is a learned behavior, she explained, so she puts the burden on educators in her school—located in an impoverished black neighborhood—to focus on helping students, both victims and perpetrators, navigate trauma and learning their individual stories to shift behaviors and attitudes.“Schools are the training ground to address the abuse and to create that change of mind [to] change those habits,” Rowe said.
All of this negatively affects academic achievement.
Less than a third (30 percent) posted information on teen dating violence that was easily available and accessible to students—posted in hallways or the cafeteria, for example—and just 35 percent specifically addressed dating abuse in their school’s violence-prevention policies.
Further, when principals were presented with several options and asked to identify the largest barrier to assisting student victims, the second most-common response—following lack of training—was that “dating violence is a minor issue compared with other student health issues we deal with.”According to Jagdish Khubchandani, the associate professor of health science at Ball State University and the study’s lead author, some school principals are hampered by faculty and staff without sufficient skills and training; others, meanwhile, mistakenly perceive dating violence as a typical, trivial teenage problem.
A member of the Domestic Violence Network’s middle- and high-school Youth Network, De Leon plans activities to inform students about unsafe or unhealthy relationships.
She’s also a student leader with the “No More Club,” which seeks to end the silence on dating abuse.
What’s more, some parents have their own misconceptions and myths about dating abuse, such as the belief that partner abuse must be physical by definition.
Only 36 percent of principals included in the study believed that students have a major role in assisting survivors.
Dozens of states have enacted legislation that addresses teen dating violence, according to research compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
As of July 2014, at least 22 states had passed laws that “allow, urge or require school boards to develop or include curriculum on teen dating violence.”Still, school leaders are not dependent on state mandates to act.
More than one-third of 10th-graders (35 percent) have been physically or verbally abused by dating partners, while a similar percentage are perpetrators of such abuse.
are physically abused by dating partners every year.
“If they choose not to take action, for me, they are a bystander.”The study exposed multiple instances of high-school principals seemingly misinformed or uninformed on teen dating violence.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating