Forms & Policies » Policy on Teen Dating Violence

Policy on Teen Dating Violence

The Everett Public Schools defines Domestic and Dating Violence in accordance with the Abuse Prevention Act, Massachusetts General Law 209A: Abuse is defined as 1) causing or attempting to cause physical harm; 2) placing another in fear of imminent serious harm; 3) causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress.  Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209A 

Goal
The Everett Public Schools is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for all students.  All schools are expected to promote an atmosphere of safety, respect and caring for all students, school officials, employees, consultants, contractors and visitors, and to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to teaching and learning.

The Everett Public Schools refuses to tolerate and prohibits teen dating violence under any circumstances.  Retaliation against any person who reports teen dating violence, provides information during an investigation into allegations of teen dating violence, witnesses instances of teen dating violence or has reliable information about a teen dating violence incident also is strictly prohibited.  A student who knowingly makes a false accusation of teen dating violence or retaliation shall be subject to disciplinary action.

General Statement of Policy
This policy is designed to prevent and stop negative behavior patterns of teen dating violence.  The Everett Public Schools Policy on Teen Dating Violence proposes an integrated approach which incorporates preventive education, behavior management, disciplinary action, and restorative justice.  The balanced approach addresses the needs of the victim, the perpetrator and community through processes that preserve the safety and dignity of all.

Application
The Teen Dating Policy shall apply to all students in the Everett Public Schools.
Teen dating violence is prohibited on school grounds, property adjacent to school grounds, at a school-sponsored activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds, on a school bus, or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased or used by a school district or school.   Teen dating violence is prohibited at a location, activity, function or program that is not school related or through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by a school district or school.  If the violence creates a hostile environment at school for the victim, infringes on rights of the victim at school or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of the school, disciplinary action may be taken. 

Factors which affect whether a dating relationship is substantive depend upon the length of the relationship, the frequency of interaction, and the length of time since the end of the relationship, if applicable.  Abusive teen dating relationships generally exhibit a pattern.  The United States Department of Justice defines teen dating violence as “the perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple to the other member within the context of dating or courtship.”  Young women, including lesbians often hide dating violence because they are inexperienced in dating, do not want to tell parents, have romantic views of love, and are pressured by peers to have relationships.  The female often thinks that the boyfriend’s jealousy, possessiveness, and abuse are romantic.  The male in the relationship feels he has the right to control and possess the female partner.    At that time, an adolescent may think that possessive jealousy and controlling behavior is loving devotion.  Some common clues that a teenager is in an abusive relationship are physical signs of injury, truancy, falling grades, use of drugs and alcohol, and changes in mood.  

Typically, the teen victim is isolated from his/her peers because of the controlling behavior of his/her partner.  Because of the violence, a teen may have difficulty acquiring new and mature relationships with peers of both sexes.  The teen will often have difficulty gaining emotional and social independence because of the violence.   The ongoing violence may even deter the ability of the teen to develop personal values and beliefs.  

Behaviors Not Allowed
Verbal/Non-verbal/Written Behaviors

  1. Use of put-downs, insults, name-calling, swearing, or offensive language.
  2. Screaming or yelling at one another
  3. Making threats, being intimidating, or getting friends to threaten and/or scare someone
  4. Use of the internet for the behaviors mentioned above

Consequences: verbal warning, possible suspension, parent notified, possible counseling referral

Physical Behaviors

  1. Hitting, punching, pinching, pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, kicking, choking, pulling hair, biting, throwing things, arm twisting, etc
  2. Intimidating, blocking exits, punching walls, knocking things around
  3. Damaging or destroying another’s property
  4. Restraining, pinning someone to the wall, blocking their movements

Consequences:  as conduct rules apply, administrators informed, parental contact, police contact, if necessary, possible schedule changes, possible diversion program and/or counseling referral

Sexual Behaviors

  1. Name calling such as bitch, slut, fag, etc
  2. Cat calls or other offensive noises or whistling
  3. Spreading sexual gossip
  4. Comments about a person’s body or unwanted verbal or written comments
  5. Staring or leering with sexual overtones or sexual gestures

Consequences:  as conduct rules apply, parental contact, counseling referral

Other Behaviors

  1. Use of weapons
  2. Stalking
  3. Forcing obscene materials on others
  4. Pulling off or lifting clothes to expose private parts
  5. Rape or attempted rape
  6. Inappropriate photographs/sexting

Consequences:  as conduct rules apply, parental contact, police contact, counseling referral