Chapter 490

2007 -- S 0875 SUBSTITUTE B

Enacted 07/03/07

 

A N A C T

RELATING TO EDUCATION - DATING VIOLENCE "LINDSAY ANN BURKE ACT"

          

     Introduced By: Senators Lanzi, Paiva-Weed, Perry, Gallo, and Goodwin

     Date Introduced: March 20, 2007

     

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

 

     SECTION 1. Title 16 of the General Laws entitled "EDUCATION" is hereby amended

by adding thereto the following chapter:

 

     CHAPTER 85

 

LINDSAY ANN BURKE ACT

 

     16-85-1. Short title. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Lindsay Ann

Burke Act."

 

     16-85-2. Legislative findings. The general assembly hereby finds, determines and

declares that when a student is a victim of dating violence, his or her academic life suffers and his

or her safety at school is jeopardized. The general assembly therefore finds that a policy to create

an environment free of dating violence shall be a part of each school district. It is the intent of the

general assembly to enact legislation that would require each school district to establish a policy

for responding to incidents of dating violence and to provide dating violence education to

students, parents, staff, faculty and administrators, in order to prevent dating violence and to

address incidents involving dating violence. All students have a right to work and study in a safe,

supportive environment that is free from harassment, intimidation and violence.

 

     SECTION 2. Chapter 16-21 of the General Laws entitled "Health and Safety of Pupils" is

hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

 

     16-21-30. Dating violence policy. (a) As used in this section:

     (1)"Dating violence" means a pattern of behavior where one person uses threats of, or

actually uses, physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse to control his or her dating partner.

     (2) "Dating partner" means any person, regardless of gender, involved in an intimate

relationship with another primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement

whether casual, serious or long-term.

     (3) "At school" means in a classroom, on or immediately adjacent to school premises, on

a school bus or other school-related vehicle, at an official school bus stop, or at any school-

sponsored activity or event whether or not it is on school grounds.

     (b) The department of education shall develop a model dating violence policy to assist

school districts in developing policies for dating violence reporting and response. The model

policy shall be issued on or before April 1, 2008.

     (c) Each school district shall establish a specific policy to address incidents of dating

violence involving students at school by December 1, 2008. Each school district shall verify

compliance with the department of education on an annual basis through the annual school health

report.

     (1) Such policy shall include, but not be limited to, a statement that dating violence will

not be tolerated, dating violence reporting procedures, guidelines to responding to at school

incidents of dating violence and discipline procedures specific to such incidents.

     (2) To ensure notice of the school district's dating violence policy, the policy shall be

published in any school district policy and handbook that sets forth the comprehensive rules,

procedures and standards of conduct for students at school.

     (d) Each school district shall provide dating violence training to all administrators,

teachers, nurses and mental health staff at the middle and high school levels. Upon the

recommendation of the administrator, other staff may be included or may attend the training on a

volunteer basis. The dating violence training shall include, but not be limited to, basic principles

of dating violence, warnings signs of dating violence and the school district's dating violence

policy, to ensure that they are able to appropriately respond to incidents of dating violence at

school. Thereafter, this training shall be provided yearly to all newly hired staff deemed

appropriate to receive the training by the school's administration.

     (e) Each school district shall inform the students' parents or legal guardians of the school

district's dating violence policy. If requested, the school district shall provide the parents or legal

guardians with the school district's dating violence policy and relevant information. It is strongly

recommended that the school district provide parent awareness training.

     (f) This section does not prevent a victim from seeking redress under any other available

law, either civil or criminal. This section does not create or alter any tort liability.

 

     SECTION 3. Chapter 16-22 of the General Laws entitled Curriculum" is hereby amended

by adding thereto the following section:

 

     16-22-24. Dating violence education. (a) Each school district shall incorporate dating

violence education that is age-appropriate into the annual health curriculum framework for

students in grades seven (7) through twelve (12).

     (1) Dating violence education shall include, but not be limited to, defining dating

violence, recognizing dating violence warning signs and characteristics of healthy relationships.

Additionally, students shall be provided with the school district's dating violence policy as

provided in subsection 16-21-30(c).

     (2) For the purposes of this section:

     (i) "Dating violence" means a pattern of behavior where one person uses threats of, or

actually uses, physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse to control his or her dating partner.

     (ii) "Dating partner" means any person involved in an intimate association with another

primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement whether casual, serious or

long-term.

     (iii) "At school" means in a classroom, on or immediately adjacent to such school

premises, on a school bus or other school-related vehicle, at an official school bus stop, or at any

school sponsored activity or event whether or not it is on school grounds.

     (3) To assist school districts in developing a dating violence education program, the

department of education shall review and approve the grade level topics relating to dating

violence and healthy relationships in the "health literacy for all students: the Rhode Island health

education framework."

     (4) The provisions of this section shall be amended in the health education curriculum

sections of the Rhode Island rules and regulations for school health programs, R16-21-SCHO,

and the Rhode Island basic education program at their next revisions.

     (b) Upon written request to the school principal, a parent or legal guardian of a pupil less

than eighteen (18) years of age, within a reasonable period of time after the request is made, shall

be permitted to examine the dating violence education program instruction materials at the school

in which his or her child is enrolled.

 

     SECTION 4. This act shall take effect upon passage.

     

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LC01262/SUB B

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