CHAPTER 64

 

An Act concerning dating violence policy and education in public school districts and supplementing chapter 35 and chapter 37 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

C.18A:37-33  Findings, declarations relative to dating violence policy and education.

     1.    The Legislature finds and declares that: a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards; a student who is a victim of dating violence suffers academically, and the student’s safety at school is jeopardized; and since all students have a right to learn and study in a safe, supportive environment that is free from violence, each school district should have a policy to prevent, and for responding to, incidents of dating violence, and should provide dating violence education to students in order to prevent dating violence and address incidents involving dating violence.

 

C.18A:37-34  Definitions relative to dating violence policy and education.

     2.    As used in this act:

     “At school” means in a classroom or anywhere on school property, 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.

     “Dating partner” means any person involved in an intimate association with another individual that is primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement, whether casual, serious, or long-term.

     “Dating violence” means a pattern of behavior where one person threatens to use, or actually uses physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse to control a dating partner.

 

C.18A:37-35  Task force to develop policy.

     3. a. The Department of Education shall establish a task force to develop a policy to address incidents of dating violence involving students at school.  The task force shall include members who have expertise in issues relating to dating violence.  The policy shall contain, at a minimum, the following components:

     (1)   a statement that dating violence will not be tolerated;

     (2)   dating violence reporting procedures;

     (3)   guidelines for responding to at-school incidents of dating violence;

     (4)   discipline procedures specific to at-school incidents of dating violence;

     (5)   warning signs of dating violence; and

     (6)   information on safe, appropriate school, family, peer, and community resources available to address dating violence.

     b.    Each school district shall implement either the policy developed by the department or a dating violence policy developed by the district.  In the event that a district determines to develop its policy, the policy shall contain, at a minimum, the components required pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (6) of subsection a. of this section.

     c.     Notice of the policy implemented by the school district shall appear in any publication of the district that sets forth the comprehensive rules, procedures, and standards of conduct for schools within the district, and in any student handbook.

 

C.18A:37-36  Educational resources, recommendation, posting on website.

     4.    The Department of Education shall recommend educational resources on dating violence and shall post these materials on its website.

 

C.18A:37-37  Interpretation.

     5.    The provisions of P.L.2011, c.64 (C.18A:37-33 et al.) shall not be interpreted to prevent a victim from seeking redress under any other available law, either civil or criminal, and does not create or alter any tort liability.

 

C.18A:35-4.23a  Dating violence education incorporated into health education curriculum.

     6. a. Beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, each school district shall incorporate dating violence education that is age appropriate into the health education curriculum as part of the district’s implementation of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education for students in grades 7 through 12.

     b.    The dating violence education shall include, but not be limited to, information on the definition of dating violence, recognizing dating violence warning signs, and the characteristics of healthy relationships.

     c.     To assist school districts in developing a dating violence education program, the Department of Education shall recommend educational resources on dating violence.

     d.    Upon written request to the school principal, a parent or legal guardian of a student less than 18 years of age, shall be permitted within a reasonable period of time after the request is made, to examine the dating violence education program instruction materials developed by the school district.

     e.     As used in this section:

     “Dating partner” means any person involved in an intimate association with another individual that is primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement, whether casual, serious, or long-term.

     “Dating violence” means a pattern of behavior where one person threatens to use, or actually uses physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse to control a dating partner.

 

     7.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

     Approved May 4, 2011.