Title 16

Chapter 21
Health and Safety of Pupils

R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-21-30

§ 16-21-30. Dating violence policy.

(a) As used in this section:

(1) “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.

(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) “Dating violence” means a pattern of abusive or coercive behaviors used to exert power and control over a current or former dating partner. Behaviors may occur online, in person, or through the use of technology. Abuse may be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, financial, or psychological and includes threats, isolation, and intimidation.

(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) The 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 the 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) Each school district shall collect data regarding instances of student misconduct that are considered dating violence. As part of the usual course of discipline data submission to the department of education, each school district shall specify when a particular infraction is also considered dating violence.

(g) 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.

History of Section.
P.L. 2007, ch. 287, § 2; P.L. 2007, ch. 490, § 2; P.L. 2021, ch. 319, § 1, effective July 9, 2021; P.L. 2021, ch. 320, § 1, effective July 9, 2021.