State law requires districts to adopt dating violence policies.
General Laws of Massachusetts 69.1L Comprehensive interdisciplinary health education and human service discretionary grant program; proposals; rejection; funds
Subject to appropriation, the board shall establish a comprehensive interdisciplinary health education and human service discretionary grant program. Funds for this program may be appropriated from the Health Protection Fund established by section two T of chapter twenty–nine. Comprehensive interdisciplinary health education and human service programs shall include, but not be limited to, planning and coordination activities, curriculum development, in–service training components for all school staff, in–service education, instruction, school counseling services, health service delivery, promotion of knowledge of child development and appropriate care, effective parenting skills for parents and adolescents, and parent education services which will promote improved home based learning, the prevention of substance abuse, tobacco use, family violence, child abuse and neglect, teenage pregnancy and eating disorders, AIDS and suicide, and promote sound health practices including nutritional health and emotional development, improved school counseling services, early intervention services for high risk students, peer counseling and education, incentives for participation by students of both sexes, and increased coordination between schools, parents and existing community services, especially for those students most in need. As the primary educators of their children, parents shall play a substantial role in the design, development and implementation of programs and curriculum.
General Laws of Massachusetts 69.1N Alternative education grant program
(b) The department shall establish a grant program, subject to appropriation, to assist school districts with the development and establishment of in–school regular education programs and services to address within the regular education school program the educational and psycho–social needs of children whose behavior interferes with learning, particularly those who are suffering from the traumatic effects of exposure to violence. As used in this subsection, students suffering from the traumatic effects of exposure to violence shall include, but not be limited to, those exposed to abuse, family or community violence, war, homelessness or any combination thereof. The grants shall support the development of school based teams with community ties that: (1) collaborate with broadly recognized experts in the fields of trauma and family and community violence and with battered women shelters; (2) provide ongoing training to inform and train teachers, administrators, and other school personnel to understand and identify the symptoms and trauma; and (3) evaluate school policy and existing school and community programs and services to determine whether and to what extent students identified as suffering from exposure to trauma can receive effective supports and interventions that can help them to succeed in their public school programs, and where necessary be referred quickly and confidentially to appropriate services.
General Laws of Massachusetts 71.1 Public Schools; Subjects of Instruction; Twelve-Month School Year Authorized.
Every town shall maintain, for at least the number of days required by the board of education in each school year unless specifically exempted as to any one year by said board, a sufficient number of schools for the instruction of all children who may legally attend a public school therein. No town shall hold double sessions in any public school, if in any other public school of comparable grade levels in such town there are vacant spaces for more than thirty–five children, the number of such vacant spaces to be computed without exceeding a maximum of thirty–five children to a classroom. The board of education may suspend the application of the preceding sentence in a particular town for a limited period. Such schools shall be taught by teachers of competent ability and good morals, and shall give instruction and training in orthography, reading, writing, the English language and grammar, geography, arithmetic, drawing, music, the history and constitution of the United States, the duties of citizenship, health education, physical education and good behavior. Instruction in health education shall include, but shall not be limited to: consumer health, ecology, community health, body structure and function, safety, nutrition, fitness and body dynamics, dental health, emotional development safe and healthy relationships with a focus on preventing sexual and domestic violence, and training in the administration of first aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The department of education shall pay for the cost of any such instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation; provided, however, that a school committee may by majority vote decide that such instruction shall not be offered. In connection with physiology and hygiene, instruction as to the effects of alcoholic drinks and of stimulants, including tobacco, and narcotics on the human system, as to tuberculosis and its prevention, as to detection and prevention of breast and uterine cancer, and as to fire safety, including instruction in the flammable qualities of certain fabrics, and as to the prevention and treatment of burn injuries, shall be given to all pupils in all schools under public control, except schools maintained solely for instruction in particular subject areas. The department of education is hereby directed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Center for Global Education, to establish a task force for the purpose of developing a model curriculum for grades kindergarten through twelve in global education and international studies. A copy of said curriculum shall be sent to the superintendent of schools for each school district in the commonwealth. The department shall encourage each school district to implement said curriculum, or a variation thereof. No pupil shall be required to take or participate in instruction on disease, its symptoms, development and treatment, whose parent or guardian shall object thereto in writing on the grounds such instruction conflicts with his sincerely held religious beliefs, and no pupil so exempt shall be penalized by reason of such exemption. Such other subjects as the school committee considers expedient may be taught in the public schools. The board of education shall adopt rules and regulations for the establishment of a twelve–month school year. Any city, town or school district by vote of its school committee may maintain and operate on a continuous twelve–month basis a sufficient number of schools for the instruction of all children who may legally attend a public school therein in accordance with such rules and regulations. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as to authorize said board to require the establishment of a twelve–month school year in any city, town or school district the school committee of which has not voted to establish, maintain and operate such a twelve–month school year. The advisory council on violence prevention established by section 1G of chapter 15 shall recommend for approval by the board of education a model curriculum for grades kindergarten through 12 in education programs on violence prevention for the purpose of informing students of the harmful effects of teenage violence, weapons and illegal drug use and of promoting community and social responsibility. The department of education shall send a copy of said curriculum to the superintendent of schools for each school district in the commonwealth. The department shall encourage school districts to implement said curriculum or a variation thereof.
General Laws of Massachusetts 71.2C Implementation of policy and discipline code addressing teen dating violence in public schools
Each school district in the commonwealth, subject to appropriation, shall implement a specific policy and discipline code to address teen dating violence in public schools. The policy shall clearly state that dating violence will not be tolerated and shall include guidelines for addressing alleged incidents of dating violence. The policy may include a teen dating violence prevention task force comprised of staff, students and parents to provide awareness training and education for the school community. Topics to be covered in the policy include, without limitation, defining the issue of teen dating violence, recognizing warning signs, identifying issues of confidentiality, safety and appropriate legal school-based interventions.
Updated Guidance for Schools and Districts on Addressing Teen Dating Violence (2013)
"G.L. c. 71, as amended by sections 60 and 61 of Chapter 256 of the Acts of 2010, requires public schools to include in health education the topic of safe and healthy relationships with a focus on preventing sexual and domestic violence. Additionally, subject to appropriation, schools are required to implement specific policies and discipline codes that address teen dating violence in public schools. This guidance contains recommendations for developing such policies and discipline codes."