HOLMEN, Wis. (WKBT) - A bill introduced at the state Capitol would require all school districts in Wisconsin to teach 7th through 12th graders about the signs of dating violence.
There are 57 percent of young students in the state who say they know someone who has been a victim of teen dating violence.
Proving that you don't have to be an adult to be a victim of domestic abuse.
Holmen high school counselor Heather Franzini has already seen a handful of students just this year.
"Relationship concerns, whether it's for themselves or whether it's about somebody else."
She says sexual, emotional and physical abuse is relevant among high school students who she meets with on a regular basis.
"I think a lot of times it goes unreported," she said.
That's why she's supporting legislation that would require Wisconsin schools to develop a curriculum on teen dating violence.
The bi-partisan bill would essentially require school boards to model age-appropriate instruction about preventing and responding to teen dating violence for students in grades seven through 12.
It would also require training for school employees on how to identify, prevent and respond to teen dating violence.
Franzini says starting with education will help prevent students from becoming violent partners.
"And then that helps students as they're getting in relationships in middle school, learning and kind of hearing that message again in the high school, again kind of helps build that kind of that structure of what is a healthy relationship and what should I accept and what shouldn't I accept."
Holmen High School currently has boxes in the boys and girls bathrooms, where students are able to drop an anonymous note if they know about a friend who may be experiencing sexual or physical abuse.
Franzini says depending on the day, there could be up to five notes in each box.
Health educator Karen Kuhlmann says there are already lessons on relationships within the health classes, but she echoes the thought that a more in-depth course on dating violence would be more effective.
"I think it's really important because I think kids don't know where to draw the line anymore, I think that's a really gray area, again they see you know so much more than when I first started teaching 30 years ago," Kuhlmann said.
"Part of that means that we do sometimes have to take on additional roles to help support students and help them be successful," Franzini said.
Twenty other states passed similar legislation.
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