Teen dating violence is an issue in Idaho today. In 2009, 11 percent of Idaho high school students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend. That’s nearly 31,000 students across our state.
“This does not just affect these students. Violence affects all our students,” Superintendent Luna said. “Abusive behavior occurring on school campuses has a lasting impact on the overall school climate. It interferes with students’ abilities to focus on learning. We have to make sure every student is free from intimidation and fear.”
Superintendent Luna and staff at the Idaho State Department of Education have been making progress in preventing teen dating violence over the past four years by collaborating with the Center for Healthy Teen Relationships and Start Strong Idaho to promote healthy teen relationships and reduce teen dating violence.
The Coordinated School Health Program in the State Department of Education works directly with schools to establish school health councils focused on a variety of health issues including violence to improve school climate and academic success.
Senator Crapo has been a leader in preventing teen dating violence at the national level for many years. Now, he is a co-sponsor of the SAFE Teen Act, which will help Idaho build on Idaho’s successes and further prevent teen dating violence. Specifically, this legislation will:
- Authorize schools to use existing grant funding for teen dating violence prevention,
- Highlight teen dating violence prevention as part of the comprehensive, community prevention program, Safe Schools, Healthy Students, that already funds prevention activities,
- Support better teen dating violence data to understand the scope of the problem as well as having a means of measuring the impact of prevention programs and policies,
- Support promising practices to further replicate, refine and test prevention models.