“An educator can be the guide to recognition of self-worth, and recognition of the resources that are available.” Standing in the doorway to her Wilde Lake High School classroom, Erika Chavarria observes the interactions among teenagers in the halls. “Generally what I’m seeing are relationships that are pretty unhealthy with few instances of equal partnership and respect.” When lovebirds march lockstep, arm in arm, is the closeness a choice?Or is it an act of control to isolate a victim from friends?Intimate partner, domestic and/or dating violence means any physical or sexual harm against an individual by a current or former spouse of or person in a dating or cohabitating relationship with such individual that results from any action by such spouse or such person that may be classified as a sexual assault under section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b, or 53a-73a of the general statutes, stalking under section 53a-181c, 53a-181d or 53a-181e of the general statutes, or domestic or family violence as designated under section 46b-38h of the general statutes.
Skipped classes, missed homework, and lagging grades are warning signs to take to a school counselor.
At worst, we’re remembering the teen who retired Ohio teacher Deloris Rome Hudson will never forget: The one strangled to death by her boyfriend, one month before her high school graduation. And that can happen from the youngest grades on up, when we help students understand what a healthy relationship looks like, and know that they deserve that instead.
Today’s educators need to be alert to the signs of teen dating abuse. Learning how to develop and maintain positive relationships is part of the social and emotional learning that keeps us all safe and happy—and leads to academic success.
Of course, Rome Hudson mourns the victim, but she also thinks: “Here’s this guy, and I don’t know what would have helped him, but that’s one I wish I would have gotten to…” But most teen relationships are not violent.
Most dwell in the broad expanse between good and vicious: the land of the unhealthy relationship.
This adds up to 1.5 million high school students last year alone.