A school district in Indiana has clarified a “zero dating policy” does not exist and would not be enforced after elementary school teachers sent a letter to parents stating that fifth-grade students had two days to end their relationships.
On Wednesday, fifth-grade teachers at Riverside Elementary School in Jeffersonville, Ind. sent home a letter to parents informing them that they would be implementing a "zero dating policy" in their classrooms to "combat students having broken hearts."
"At this age, children are dating and breaking up within days of each other," the letter, which was not reviewed by the school’s principal or district officials, read. "This leads to many broken hearts, which carry over into the classroom."
The letter went on to state that the students involved in relationships were given just Tuesday and Wednesday "to make sure that relationships have ended."
The public information officer for Greater Clark County Schools, Erin Bojorquez, informed Yahoo Lifestyle that such forms of communication are common in the district and that teachers send print or electronic letters to students’ guardians daily. However, they say that this message missed the mark.
According to Bower's Facebook post, her son and his "girlfriend" have been together since last year. They are not romantic with each other, as they are too young, but have a strong friendship and they talk every day.
"She isn’t just his girlfriend," Bower wrote. "She is also his best friend."
Bower believes that when to allow a child to date should be a decision parents make, and voiced her concern that such a matter was discussed with the students before parents were ever made aware of the proposed policy.
"That’s MY child & I will not enforce this new rule of theirs," Bower wrote. "As long as he’s not holding her hand or whatever at school it’s none of their business who he calls his girlfriend."
Greater Clark County Schools officials told WDRB that two parents approached them with concerns. On Thursday, the district sent a letter to parents stating they would not force students to end their relationships, and that the message from the fifth-grade teachers was “misrepresented.”
"A letter went home yesterday informing parents about the recent heightened issues with fifth-grade students being focused on dating relationships. We have received feedback that some parents were concerned about the wording of the letter. The letter was composed by a team of fifth-grade teachers and sent home with students. It was not reviewed by the building principal, or district officials," the letter sent to parents, and provided to Yahoo Lifestyle, read.
"The intentions of our teachers were to protect student feelings, encourage developmentally appropriate friendships, and protect instructional time. In retrospect, the phrases, 'zero dating policy' and the request to take Tuesday and Wednesday to 'end' relationships misrepresented the intentions of the teachers. While the team of teachers were trying to protect students, the wording is what caused alarm."
"There has never been a dating policy and we will [not] be implementing one," Bojorquez told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Our teachers were simply trying to maximize instructional time and unfortunately the message was not conveyed appropriately.”
The district stated it would not comment on the disciplinary action of any employee.
Briana Bower did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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