Start Strong Releases Model School Policy

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Every morning, parents send their kids off from home to school. But are schools creating the kinds of healthy environments in hallways and schoolyards that we want for our children? Parents and teachers can play a big role in making sure healthy school environments are a reality in every school and that teen dating violence prevention is included in school policies and practices.

To support schools looking to foster a culture of healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence, Start Strong developed the “School Policy to Increase Student Safety.” This policy toolkit is unique because it offers schools best practices around the prevention of dating violence, as well as guidelines for early intervention and crisis response.

Share the toolkit with your school district and ask them to adopt a policy to prevent teen dating violence and build healthy teen relationships!

One in three teens reports knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, choked or physically hurt by their partner. Like millions of adults, teens are often victims of dating violence. School policies are critical for reinforcing positive messages while establishing expectations and codes of conduct that promote healthy relationships.

A positive school climate requires active promotion and modeling of individual healthy behavior and early intervention of unhealthy behavior by the entire community of teachers, staff members, parents, and students. Policies and practices that recognize the full continuum of prevention, early intervention, corrective guidance, and a protocol for active intervention are required to maintain a school environment that is free of violence, including teen dating abuse in all its forms.

Influencing both district policies and guidelines in student handbooks can establish a school environment where prevention of relationship violence is a priority, and where students learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors.

Students, parents, teachers, administrators and staff can work together to build a school climate that fosters healthy relationship skills in all students. Read the model policy developed by Start Strong to learn more about implementing a plan for your school, and visit

Start Strong is the largest initiative ever funded to target 11- to- 14-year-olds and rally entire communities to promote healthy relationships as the way to prevent teen dating violence and abuse. It is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in collaboration with Futures Without Violence, formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Blue Shield of California Foundation are investing $18 million in 11 Start Strong communities across the country to identify and evaluate best practices in prevention to stop dating violence and abuse before it starts.