This fall, curriculum for many students in grades 6 through 12 will include lessons on the serious reality of dating violence.
According to the Indiana Youth Institute, 12.1% of young people in Indiana report being hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Approved by the General Assembly in 2010, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 316 required the Indiana Dept. of Education, in collaboration with organizations that have expertise in dating violence, domestic violence and sexual abuse, to develop or identify curriculum models by July 1, 2011, and to assist schools with the implementation of dating violence education programs and policies. The IDOE has published materials and response policies for schools to begin using this school year.
The bill was authored by Senator Earline Rogers (D-Gary) and named in memory of Heather Norris, a young Indiana woman who was brutally murdered by her estranged high school boyfriend in 2007. The driving force for passage of the new law was Debbie Norris, mother of Heather Norris. Heather’s Law was developed through a collaboration of community service providers including Domestic Violence Network, Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Children’s Bureau, Washington Township Schools, and the Indiana Department of Education.