Rhode Island School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Dating and Relationship Violence

Discipline Compendium

Rhode Island School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Dating and Relationship Violence

Category: Discipline Addressing Specific Code of Conduct Violations
Subcategory: Dating and Relationship Violence
State: Rhode Island

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LAWS

16-21-30. Dating violence policy.

(a) As used in this section:

(1)  "At school" means in a classroom, on or immediately adjacent to school premises, on a school bus or other school-related vehicle, at an official school bus stop, or at any school-sponsored activity or event whether or not it is on school grounds.

(2) "Dating partner" means any person, regardless of gender, involved in an intimate relationship with another primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement whether casual, serious, or long-term.

(3) "Dating violence" means a pattern of abusive or coercive behaviors used to exert power and control over a current or former dating partner. Behaviors may occur online, in person, or through the use of technology. Abuse may be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, financial, or psychological and includes threats, isolation, and intimidation.

 

(b) The department of education shall develop a model dating violence policy to assist school districts in developing policies for dating violence reporting and response. The model policy shall be issued on or before April 1, 2008.

(c) Each school district shall establish a specific policy to address incidents of dating violence involving students at school by December 1, 2008. Each school district shall verify compliance with the department of education on an annual basis through the annual school health report.

(1) The policy shall include, but not be limited to: a statement that dating violence will not be tolerated; dating violence reporting procedures, guidelines to responding to at school incidents of dating violence and discipline procedures specific to the incidents.

(2) To ensure notice of the school district's dating violence policy, the policy shall be published in any school district policy and handbook that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures and standards of conduct for students at school.

(d) Each school district shall provide dating violence training to all administrators, teachers, nurses and mental health staff at the middle and high school levels. Upon the recommendation of the administrator, other staff may be included or may attend the training on a volunteer basis. The dating violence training shall include, but not be limited to: basic principles of dating violence; warnings signs of dating violence; and the school district's dating violence policy, to ensure that they are able to appropriately respond to incidents of dating violence at school. Thereafter, this training shall be provided yearly to all newly hired staff deemed appropriate to receive the training by the school's administration.

(e) Each school district shall inform the students' parents or legal guardians of the school district's dating violence policy. If requested, the school district shall provide the parents or legal guardians with the school district's dating violence policy and relevant information. It is strongly recommended that the school district provide parent awareness training.

(f) Each school district shall collect data regarding instances of student misconduct that are considered dating violence. As part of the usual course of discipline data submission to the department of education, each school district shall specify when a particular infraction is also considered dating violence.

(g) This section does not prevent a victim from seeking redress under any other available law, either civil or criminal. This section does not create or alter any tort liability.

16-22-24. Dating violence education.

(a) Each school district shall incorporate dating violence education that is age-appropriate into the annual health curriculum framework for students in grades seven (7) through twelve (12).

(1) Dating violence education shall include, but not be limited to, defining dating violence, recognizing dating violence warning signs and characteristics of healthy relationships. Additionally, students shall be provided with the school district's dating violence policy as provided in subsection 16-21-30(c).

(2) For the purposes of this section:

(i) "At school" means in a classroom, on or immediately adjacent to the school premises, on a school bus or other school-related vehicle, at an official school bus stop, or at any school sponsored activity or event whether or not it is on school grounds.

(ii) "Dating partner" means any person involved in an intimate association with another primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement whether casual, serious, or long-term.

(iii)"Dating violence" means a pattern of abusive or coercive behaviors used to exert power and control over a current or former dating partner. Behaviors may occur online, in person, or through the use of technology. Abuse may be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, financial, or psychological and includes threats, isolation, and intimidation..

(3) To assist school districts in developing a dating violence education program, the department of education shall review and approve the grade level topics relating to dating violence and healthy relationships in the "health literacy for all students: the Rhode Island health education framework".

(4) The provisions of this section shall be amended in the health education curriculum sections of the Rhode Island rules and regulations for school health programs, R16-21-SCHO, and the Rhode Island basic education program at their next revisions.

(b) Upon written request to the school principal, a parent or legal guardian of a pupil less than eighteen (18) years of age, within a reasonable period of time after the request is made, shall be permitted to examine the dating violence education program instruction materials at the school in which his or her child is enrolled.

16-85-2. Legislative findings.

The general assembly hereby finds, determines and declares that when a student is a victim of dating violence, his or her academic life suffers and his or her safety at school is jeopardized. The general assembly therefore finds that a policy to create an environment free of dating violence shall be a part of each school district. It is the intent of the general assembly to enact legislation that would require each school district to establish a policy for responding to incidents of dating violence and to provide dating violence education to students, parents, staff, faculty and administrators, in order to prevent dating violence and to address incidents involving dating violence. All students have a right to work and study in a safe, supportive environment that is free from harassment, intimidation and violence.

REGULATIONS

200-RICR-20-10-1 Section 1.3.2. Supportive and nurturing school community.

E. Prevention of Bullying, Harassment, Hazing, Teen Dating Violence, and Sexual Violence.

1. Each LEA shall:

a. Prevent and respond appropriately to incidents of bullying, hazing, teen dating violence, sexual violence, and related issues;

b. Promote nonviolent conflict resolution techniques in order to encourage attitudes and behaviors that foster harmonious relations;

c. Provide professional development, training, resources, and other means to assist students, staff, and other adults in the school building or at school sponsored activities in carrying out these responsibilities; and

d. Comply with relevant state and federal statutes regarding these issues.

F. Positive Behavioral Supports and Discipline

1. Each LEA shall ensure that schools promote a positive climate with emphasis on mutual respect, self-control, good attendance, order and organization, and proper security. Each LEA shall develop protocols that define a set of discipline strategies and constructs that ensure that students and adults make positive behavioral choices and that are conducive to a safe and nurturing environment that promotes academic success.

216-RICR-20-10-4 Section 4.3. Definitions.

Section 4.3 Definitions

A. Wherever used in these rules and regulations the terms listed below shall be construed as follows:

16. "Dating violence" means a pattern of behavior wherein a person uses threats of, or actually uses, physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse to control his or her dating partner. [...]

Section 4.5 Administration of the Health Education Program

I. Planned and ongoing in-service programs are required to update health educators and other relevant personnel in their knowledge of health and teaching skills, and to obtain their input regarding health curriculum, assessment and improvement. These must be consistent with the provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws § 35-4-18 and R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 16-1-5(14), 16-22-12, 16-22-14, and 16-22-24 pertaining to substance abuse, alcohol, suicide, teen dating violence, and such other relevant laws. [...]

Section 4.7 Mandated Health Instructional Outcomes

A. Pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-22-4, the health education curriculum must be based on the Rhode Island Health Education Framework: Health Literacy for All Students standards and consistent with the mandated health instructional outcomes incorporated at §§ 4.2(A) and (B) of this Part. These outcomes must pertain to no less than the following required content area topics appropriate to grade or developmental level:

7. Family Life and Sexuality: responsibilities of family membership and adulthood, issues related to reproduction, abstinence, dating and dating violence, marriage, parenthood, information about sexually transmitted diseases, sexuality and sexual orientation, as part of comprehensive sexuality education pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-22-18.

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