A Montgomery County lawmaker is hoping the second time’s the charm on bill that would require Pennsylvania high schools to teach “dating violence” education to their students.
In a ‘Dear Colleague’ memo sent out late last week, Rep. Thomas P. Murt, a Republican from Hatboro, cited Centers for Disease Control data showing that “approximately 10 percent of high school students surveyed reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to being surveyed.
“Dating violence, and teen dating violence in particular, is an alarming trend that is becoming more widespread with serious long-term and short-term effects for young people,” Murt wrote. “To combat this increasing problem, and send a message to students about the importance of developing healthy relationships, over the past several years, at least 15 states have adopted requirements for age-appropriate instruction in dating violence prevention.”
The bill made the rounds in last year’s legislative session.
Current state law, Murt wrote, allows public schools to develop policies on dating violence; to provide training to school personnel and to offer instruction to students on how to avoid and address violent behavior in a partner. Murt’s bill would make these recommendations mandatory.