Teen dating abuse or violence is the use of abusive behaviors by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control a current or former dating partner. Dating abuse can include, but is not limited to, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, sexual violence, and stalking. It can also include using the Internet, social networking sites, phones, or text messaging to harass, pressure, or victimize.
Prohibition Against Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking
The Melrose Public Schools will not tolerate dating abuse or violence of any kind, and will take the steps necessary to prevent teen dating abuse, intervene when relationship violence occurs, and help promote healthy relationships among students.
Technological abuse is prohibited through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased, or used by the district or a school, and through private electronic means if the abuse creates a hostile environment at school for the targeted student, infringes on the rights of the targeted student at school, or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Responsibility of School Staff
School staff will take all reasonable measures to prevent teen dating abuse, sexual violence, and stalking. All staff member that witnesses, hear of, or has reasonable grounds to believe that these behaviors are taking place are obligated to report such behaviors to an assistant principal or principal. Staff members may also report these behaviors to a guidance counselor, who is then obligated to report the behaviors to an assistant principal or principal. In this context, staff members include support staff, substitute teachers, and volunteers working in the school.
Responsibility of Students
Students who observe an act of teen dating abuse, sexual violence, or stalking, or who have reasonable grounds to believe that these behaviors are taking place, are obligated to report incidents to a staff member. The targeted student will not, however, be held responsible for failing to report teen dating abuse, sexual violence, or stalking.
Prevention: Training and Education
The district will provide annual training on the district’s teen dating abuse policy and on the topic of teen dating abuse, sexual violence, and stalking to all administrators, teachers, nurses, and mental health staff at the middle and high school levels. Upon the recommendation of the principal, other staff members may be included or may attend the training on a volunteer basis; thereafter, this training will be provided yearly to all newly hired staff members as recommended by the Superintendent.
On-going, age-appropriate education on healthy relationships will be provided to all students in grades K-12, with specific instruction relating to teen dating abuse taught yearly in grades 7 – 10 through the health curriculum. This curriculum will include, but not be limited to, defining teen dating violence, recognizing warning signs of abuse, and the characteristics of healthy relationships. Additionally, students will be provided with the district’s teen dating abuse protocols in the Secondary Student Handbook and Code of Conduct.
MSC first vote: 5/27/14
MSC second vote: 6/10/14