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Dating 101: Anti-Rape Classes

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A new Rhode Island law mandates middle school classes to prevent date rape.

teens holding hands

In addition to math and science, your child's school may now offer dating classes. The goal is simple: To prevent dating violence, such as date rape.

Starting this year, a new Rhode Island law called the Lindsay Ann Burke Act will require schools to teach middle schoolers and teens the warning signs of abusive relationships. The classes are designed to broach the subject head-on so kids feel empowered to get help and leave violent partners.

The law is named after a 23 year-old North Kingstown, RI woman who was brutally murdered in 2005 by her former boyfriend. It requires every school district in Rhode Island to develop a dating violence policy and a separate program to address incidents of dating violence. Each school district will also be expected to provide dating violence training to school staff.

And while other states like Texas mandate unspecified awareness education on dating violence for students, the Rhode Island law goes further by requiring the topic be incorporated annually into the curriculum for students in seventh through 12th grade.

It may come soon to a school near you too -- members of the National Association of Attorneys General are encouraging the education in their states.

Should schools be giving teens relationship advice?

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