The Lead

Suburban Philly lawmaker’s bill would require schools to teach students about dating violence

By: - February 11, 2019 3:12 pm

(WikiMedia Commons photo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolescence#/media/File:Teens_sharing_a_song.jpg)

A Montgomery County lawmaker is hoping the second time’s the charm on bill that would require Pennsylvania high schools to teach “dating violence” education to their students.

In a ‘Dear Colleague’ memo sent out late last week, Rep. Thomas P. Murt, a Republican from Hatboro, cited Centers for Disease Control data showing that “approximately 10 percent of high school students surveyed reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to being surveyed.

Source: The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, CDC

“Dating violence, and teen dating violence in particular, is an alarming trend that is becoming more widespread with serious long-term and short-term effects for young people,” Murt wrote. “To combat this increasing problem, and send a message to students about the importance of developing healthy relationships, over the past several years, at least 15 states have adopted requirements for age-appropriate instruction in dating violence prevention.”

The bill made the rounds in last year’s legislative session.

Current state law, Murt wrote, allows public schools to develop policies on dating violence; to provide training to school personnel and to offer instruction to students on how to avoid and address violent behavior in a partner. Murt’s bill would make these recommendations mandatory.

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