Rhode Island to teach about dating violence

Filed under: Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, Day Care & Education, Sex

A broken plate, remnants of a domestic dispute, perhaps?Three years ago, Lindsay Burke didn't know about abusive relationships and it cost her her life. She was killed by her boyfriend who was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Lindsay Burke may not have recognized the signs or known what to do, but other teens will, thanks to a new law that bears her name.

The Lindsay Ann Burke Act requires that the topic of dating violence be a part of the health courses in all public middle and high schools. "You teach sex ed, you teach `don't do drugs,' you teach `don't drink,' you should also be teaching `don't be a victim of domestic violence,'" said Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch who helped get the act passed by the legislature.

"If this could happen to her, this could happen to anyone," said Lindsay's mother, Ann Burke. Burke and her husband, Chris, started the campaign to pass the new law. Texas also has a requirement to include awareness of dating violence and several other states encourage it, but Rhode Island's law goes the furthest, requiring the subject be taught annually from seventh grade through twelfth.

Personally, I can't imagine anyone who wants to be considered human hurting another, especially one they care about, but I know it happens. I'd also like to think my kids will be strong enough -- physically and mentally -- to not permit such treatment. I also know, however, that strength is worthless without training, so I'm all in favor of this. I hope that when my kids get to middle school, this will be a part of their classes too.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.