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Lawmaker wants school districts to discuss dating abuse

Requiring each Arizona school board to hold a public meeting to consider whether or not to adopt a curriculum on dating violence would better inform board members about the problem among teens, a state lawmaker says.

“It will bring to the attention of school board members what’s going on in the lives of teenagers who are dating and the destructive behaviors involved,” said Sen. Linda Gray, a Republican from Glendale. “School boards are in the business of education, and it’s important students understand what those behaviors and warning signs are.”

Gray’s bill, S1308, won House approval Tuesday, sending it back to the Senate, which can either accept House changes or send the bill to a conference committee to resolve differences.

The measure would require all school boards to hold a meeting on or before June 30, 2011, to discuss whether or not they want to adopt curriculum regarding dating abuse. It would also require the boards to notify a local domestic violence organization of their meeting at least two weeks in advance.

The bill originally mandated much more, including requiring that all administrators and teachers receive training on the warning signs of dating violence, but was scaled back through amendments due to concerns raised by a group representing school administrators.

Kendra Leiby, a lobbyist for the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said that her organization was hoping for more mandates. But she said she was happy the Legislature is making progress toward educating the public about the problem.

“It’s not nearly as strong of a bill as we hoped in requiring courses and education to prevent violence,” Leiby said. “But the school districts having the conversation is a tremendous step forward for Arizona.”

Mike Smith, a lobbyist for the Arizona School Administrators Association, said his group opposes requiring the meeting because most districts lack the resources to implement such a curriculum.

“They make these little hurdles of what they want, but they recognize that ordering them would be an unfunded mandate,” Smith said. “So instead of ordering us, they order us to hold a meeting. I’m guessing 90 percent of the districts will hold a meeting and vote no because they don’t have the resources.”

Gray said she sponsored the bill after hearing that the teenage daughter of a family in her district was murdered after breaking up with her boyfriend. She said she hopes these kinds of talks among school board members will keep similar situations from spiraling into tragedy.

“We’re trying to change behaviors through education,” she said. “If a girl is saying no, it needs to stop. No means no.”

2 comments

  1. The economy is collapsing, our southern borders are being overrun, 5,000 families a month are being evicted from their home, thousands of Arizonans are losing jobs everfy month, ourschools afre unable to teach our students how to read and write ….. and this NUT-CASE, Republican Linda Gray wants the state legislature to drop what its doing and create new “politically correct laws for dating.

    She actually wants to legislate the natural process of puberty by putting teen age boys in jail for being boys.

    The Republicans in the Glendale District should get a serious candidate to represent them in the state legislature. They have chosen a candidate that like othjers before try to legislate morality or natural physiological processes, with drugs probably.

    What a screwball. Give her a violin so she can play it while Arizona is burning to the ground.

  2. Please reconsider the propriety of this well-intentioned but nonetheless erroneous bill. No rational, moral person favors dating violence. However, the schools need to focus on basic education. The limited funds make this point ever more obvious. I believe the main problem facing education is the lack of commitment to academics. Steering schools away from their proper function is a huge mistake. One might argue that if the schools don’t provide parenting, none will occur. I, for one, have not given up entirely on our populace. Providing a good basic education serves the children better and costs less. Less cost should mean lower taxes and fewer parents forced to work longer and longer hours to financially support themselves and their children. More time for families is a concept I strongly support. Please, Sen. Gray, your Republican beliefs are not forwarded by this legislation.

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