As the students of South East High School cope with the loss of 17-year-old Cindi Santana allegedly at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, the community has begun to brainstorm ways of preventing further tragic instances of teenage dating violence.
The Los Angeles Unified School District is considering expanding programs to stop teen dating violence, reports the Los Angeles Daily News. One program includes designating a prevention coordinator at each high school campus who would help students and faculty recognize the signs of teenage dating violence.
Many students do not realize that dating violence is another form of domestic violence. It is even referenced in the Violence Against Women Act, and includes violence perpetrated by a person who is in a social, romantic, or intimate relationship with the victim. The existence of the relationship is determined using factors such as the length and type of relationship and the partners' frequency of interaction.
Santana's death has brought to the forefront startling statistics dealing with teenage dating violence. The Daily News reports that one in three adolescent girls falls victim to some sort of abuse from a dating partner. One in ten high school students have also reportedly been hit, slapped or deliberately hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Similar programs such as the ones the board is proposing have been implemented at other school districts, but they often run into funding problems. California also does not mandate them, unlike 14 other states.
If you believe you or a friend has been the victim of teenage dating violence, there are national resources available to help both victims and abusers. More information can be found in our Related Resources section. Hopefully, Cindi Santana's tragic end will be prevented from occurring again.