Schools ill-equipped to respond to teen dating violence

Published: Thursday, May 9 2013 11:05 p.m. MDT

Teen dating violence is not tied to any specific code in many states, including Utah, Higgins said. "It's an umbrella to a lot of other crimes." Though much more can be done, schools try to work with officers in removing youth from schools or changing school schedules, Higgins said.

"If a student is being harassed by another student, they are encouraged to report that to any adult in the system," said Christopher Williams, the Community Relations Director for Davis School District. "That information will be shared with student services. "I've worked for the school district for 13 years and I can say that I don't know of any situation in which harassment or bullying or intimidation has been allowed, when it has been reported."

Moving forward

Ultimately, teens themselves can play the biggest role in combating teen dating violence, Plummer said. "The kids on the periphery are the most powerful agents of change. They can stop and convince their other peers to stop what they're doing."

Burke, for her part, has since learned to pick up the pieces and move forward with full confidence. She transferred to Canyon Heights, a private school within the same district, where she finished her senior year.

Burke went on to hairstyling school, at which point she met her husband, Gregory Burke. The happy couple is expecting a child.

"I am at peace in my life now. I slowly over the years put myself all back together again and have grown tremendously from this lifeless girl into this full of life, confident woman," Burke wrote on her blog. "I want this so much for ... all other victims. We are strong survivors who together can make a big difference."

Email: rlowry@desnews.com

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