Although a majority of high-school principals (57 percent) had assisted a teen dating-violence victim in the past two years, more than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) said they lacked formal training, and a majority (62 percent) reported that teachers and staff in their schools hadn’t been recently trained, either.Less than a third (30 percent) posted information on teen dating violence that was easily available and accessible to students—posted in hallways or the cafeteria, for example—and just 35 percent specifically addressed dating abuse in their school’s violence-prevention policies.“Me coming in to do a three- or four-day program in a classroom is really great, but the entire school environment has to change for real change to happen.” As an expert in the field, she said that requires buy-in from school leaders.Bob Farrace, the public-affairs director for the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said he encourages high-school principals to take an honest and transparent look at their own data, identify the trends in teen dating violence incidents, and address them appropriately. Teen Dating Violence is a pattern of emotional, verbal, sexual, or physical abuse used by one person in a current or past dating relationship to exert power and control over another when one or both of the partners is a teenager. requires school districts to adopt and implement a policy prohibiting dating violence and abuse by any student on school property, during a school sponsored activity, or during school-sponsored transportation, and providing procedures for responding to such incidents of dating violence or abuse, including accommodations for students experiencing dating violence or abuse.Victims of dating abuse are also more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and to consider suicide, than their non-abused peers.
A member of the Domestic Violence Network’s middle- and high-school Youth Network, De Leon plans activities to inform students about unsafe or unhealthy relationships.For example, respondents were most likely to assume that counselors and parents are preferable to students’ peers in assisting victims.Ninety-three percent of principals said they referred student victims of dating violence to counselors, while 85 percent said they informed the victim’s parents or guardians.While he called the study’s findings “deeply troubling,” he said that dating abuse hasn’t been cited specifically by principals as an area of focus for the national organization, alluding to state policies that oversee teen dating violence training and education.Dozens of states have enacted legislation that addresses teen dating violence, according to research compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.“They have some awareness that this is happening in their school, especially if they're assisting victims periodically,” he said.“If they choose not to take action, for me, they are a bystander.”The study exposed multiple instances of high-school principals seemingly misinformed or uninformed on teen dating violence.Yet federal data indicate that many public schools, particularly high-poverty campuses, lack counselors.What’s more, some parents have their own misconceptions and myths about dating abuse, such as the belief that partner abuse must be physical by definition. are physically abused by dating partners every year.Youth from low-income backgrounds, those from marginalized racial and ethnic groups, and LGBTQ students are at the greatest risk of experiencing such harm. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that adolescents who experienced teen dating violence were more likely than those who didn’t to report being bullied on school grounds and missing school due to feeling unsafe.