Greater Clark County Schools established “a zero dating policy” this week for fifth graders at Riverside Elementary School in Jeffersonville, as explained in a letter to parents and guardians posted Wednesday on Facebook.
“At this age, children are dating and breaking up within days of each other,” the letter read. “This leads to many broken hearts, which carry over into the classroom.”
The letter from three fifth grade teachers gave students until “Tuesday and Wednesday to make sure that relationships have ended.”
Parents and guardians were asked to acknowledge the new policy, sign the letter and return it the following day.
Greater Clark Co. Schools reverses ‘zero dating policy’ for 5th graders after concerns https://t.co/Za5hTxiEtH pic.twitter.com/AzTeQLqqhA
— WDRB News (@WDRBNews) September 26, 2019
Briana Bower, who posted the letter on Facebook, said her 10-year-old son is a student at the school and has a girlfriend. Bower says she’s his best friend, and they like to hang out after school.
“The school has no right to pressure my child & put a DEADLINE on when he ‘has to’ end his relationship. That’s MY child & I will not enforce this new rule of theirs. As long as he’s not holding her hand or whatever at school it’s none of their business who he calls his girlfriend,” Bower wrote Wednesday in her Facebook post.
Just one day later, on Thursday, the district sent out an email notifying parents the school is no longer encouraging or forcing students to end relationships.
“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 district wrote. “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 intentions of our teachers were to protect student feelings, encourage developmentally appropriate friendships, and protect instructional time,” the email continued. “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.”