INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Ball State University released a new study that shows more than 75% of high schools appear not to have policies in place to respond to teen dating violence.
The university contacted 750 high schools at random across the country. The national survey of high school principals suggests finding and stopping teen dating violence is not a high priority.
Jagdish Khubchandani, professor of Health Science at Ball State, told News 8, “Some of them would write back angry emails and angry letters when I was sending these questionnaires and they would say do you understand that we have a lot to deal with and where are the parents and why does the state have to take care of children’s romantic issues.”
The study shows more than 60% of principals who responded say their faculty and staff have not been provided training in the last two years, and nearly 70% of principals have not been formally trained.
“You have to train your nurses, counselors and teachers and law enforcement officers, too, because you’re dealing with some children minors and these are sensitive issues that have legal liabilities. Training is the best way to move forward. And once someone is trained, they would know how to follow the procedure,” said Khubchandani.
The study revealed the majority of the principals couldn’t answer several questions related to teen dating violence and disciplinary action against perpetrators of teen dating violence was sanctioned by only 27%.
“Their word is the final word in a school and so they should be proactive and discipline students that need to be disciplined or else they will continue to deal with the same issues,” Khubchandani said.
Indianapolis Public Schools said they’re not surprised of the findings, as many K-12 schools are unaware of the responsibilities to stop teen dating violence. Kim Kennedy, paralegal and Title IX coordinator, said all middle and high school principals, as well as other staff members, are trained to respond to incidents and the schools don’t hesitate to act.
“The most common action that we take is called a safety plan, and that safety plan may require a respondent or a possible perpetrator to change classes, ride a different bus, sometimes even attend school in different hours or in a different manner or not access a particular extracurricular activity if the incident is serious enough,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy mentioned the school will also work with resources outside the school to get a “no contact” order between the victim and perpetrator, if necessary.