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American schools not prepared to respond to teen dating violence

Jeffrey Clark

Jeffrey Clark

Health Sciences Department Chairperson Jeffrey Clark recently co-authored research data regarding teen violence dating.

In the study from Ball State University and other universities, 750 high school principals in the United States were sent questionnaires regarding teen dating violence in their schools. The study had a 54 percent response rate. The responses showed that approximately 57 percent of principals stated that they have assisted a teen dating violence survivor within the past two years. Among these principals, 76 percent of the schools they work at did not have any protocol to respond to these incidents. Another 65 percent said that the violence prevention policies at their schools do not address teen dating violence specifically. There was another similar study conducted with school nurses and counselors and the results were relatively the same as the results found among the principals. Majority of schools across America do not post any information relating to teen violence that is publicly or conveniently available for students at all, meaning students receive very little education about teen dating violence issues in high school as well.

For the small amount of principals, counselors, or nurses who did receive formal training on these issues, they perceived dating violence as much more of a serious problem and it made them more likely to assist survivors of teen dating violence. This helps show that educating high schools and their staff on teen dating violence can help prevent and resolve the issues it brings about in high schools. This problem of having no protocol or promotion on the issue of teen dating violence is now coming to the attention of researchers, and this is the first national assessment of the role of school principals in the prevention and response to the matter.

According to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, one in three American teens are victims to sexual, emotional, verbal, or physical abuse from a dating partner. Teen dating violence incidents are becoming more and more prevalent among numerous high schools throughout the United States. However, majority of these schools are not prepared in how to respond in these situations, and the responses are not a high priority for the schools either.

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