In 2007, the DC government asked Break the Cycle to address teen dating violence in DC Public Schools (DCPS). The goals of the project were to:
- Develop and implement a model policy in DCPS addressing dating violence on and off campus
- Train all school personnel including teachers, coaches, support staff and school resource officers on how best to help students around teen dating violence and sexual violence
- Educate DCPS students on healthy relationships
In collaboration with four local organizations, Break the Cycle developed the DC Safe Schools Model Policy. Education experts, police, administrators and teachers reviewed it, giving Break the Cycle more insight on how to make this policy easier to implement. Adding to that feedback, Break the Cycle sought input from more than fifty youth who voiced their suggestions on victim accommodations, protocols and prevention education.
The Policy in Action
Since 2009, a handful of DC high schools have adopted the DC Safe Schools Model Policy, taking a holistic approach to teen dating violence on and off-campus. Through the Policy, these schools have committed to:
- Implemening a protocol for responding to dating violence
- Training all school employees
- Providing prevention education for all students
- Determining accommodations and services for students experiencing dating violence
- Educating students and parents about their rights
Participating schools have also appointed representatives from their faculty and staff to serve as “School-Based Advocates,” point people for teachers, administrators and students to turn to for more information on teen dating violence, school protocol and additional resources.
The School-Based Advocates undergo an intensive, interactive eight-hour training on teen dating violence. They also receive continuing education and guidance throughout the school year. Trainings topics include working with LGBTQ teens, talking to parents about teen dating violence and safety planning with teen survivors.
For more information on our work in DC schools, email firstname.lastname@example.org.