To many, February is the month of love, as grocers stock up on heart-shaped candies, florists order red roses, and restaurants book a flood of Valentine's Day reservations. Congress approved of nationally recognizing Teen DV Month in 2010, which is designed to bring attention to the startling amount of abuse in the relationships of many young people. Dating in high school is unique, especially because many students are entering their first romantic relationship, says Colleen Gallopin, director of training and technical assistance at Break the Cycle, the national nonprofit that coordinates the events of Teen DV Month. Most high school students are also under the age of 18, so they must get their parents' approval for many important services, such as getting a court's civil protection from an abusive partner or mental health counseling about their relationship, says Gallopin.
But students in an abusive relationship can get guidance at school, where Gallopin says much of the dating abuse happens.


The RESPECT committee of the Kitsap County Domestic Violence Task Force sponsored a poster contest in the Fall last year.
In October 2010, Laurel House hosted its second annual Montgomery County High School Student Poster Contest.
But February is also about the other side of the coin -- it's National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
Teachers can try curriculum plans, for example, which aim to identify healthy relationships and prevent or stop abusive relationships.
To speak with a domestic violence counselor anytime, please call Laurel House’s hotline at 1-800-642-3150.


The Break the Cycle website also suggests that teachers be alert to abuse and ready to direct students to the proper resources, such as the National Dating Abuse Hotline. The winning image in the graphic design category, created by Gina Proietto, of Plymouth Whitemarsh High School portrays the theme “You can get out of the dark”. This poster will be used as the official Laurel House Dating Violence Prevention poster for 2011.



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