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Q: What is “Tina’s Law”?
A: Ohio Substitute House Bill 19, also known as the “Tina Croucher Act” or “Tina’s Law,” was signed into law December 28, 2009, and took effect March 29, 2010. It amends several portions of existing Ohio law in order to require Ohio public school districts to incorporate and address dating violence in their policies and programming. Schools were required to implement the law’s new requirements as of September 29, 2010.
Q: What must public schools do to comply with this law?
A: The law requires the following:
• The board of education of each city and exempted village school district, the governing board of each educational service center, and the board of each cooperative education school district must include age-appropriate instruction for students in grades seven through twelve on the subject of dating violence prevention, including specific instruction in recognizing dating violence warning signs and characteristics of healthy relationships.
• Ohio boards of education must amend their policies regarding harassment, intimidation and bullying to incorporate acts of violence within a dating relationship. The law defines the terms “harassment, intimidation, or bullying” (in the public school context) and “violence within a dating relationship.” These policies must be developed in consultation with parents, school employees, school volunteers, students, and community members.
• Tina’s law amends existing Ohio law to require boards of education to provide a program of in-service training in the prevention of child and substance abuse, as well as violence and training in the prevention of dating violence for each person employed by any school district or service center to work in a middle or high school as a nurse, teacher, counselor, school psychologist, or administrator.
Q: Can parents review the dating violence prevention instruction materials used at their child’s school?
A: Yes. A parent or legal guardian of a student less than 18 years of age may submit a written request to the principal of the student's school to examine the dating violence prevention instruction materials used at that school. The principal must, within a reasonable period of time after the request is made, allow the parent or guardian to examine the materials used at that school.
Q: Where can public school districts go to get more information about the law’s requirements?
A: Schools can consult with the Ohio Department of Education, or with their Board of Education’s attorney and/or policy provider.
This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). It was prepared by Columbus attorney Lisa M. Burleson, Esq., former chair of the OSBA Education Law Committee.