Having relationships in elementary school (if you can even call them relationships that early on) is part of growing up for a lot of us. However, one school in Indiana tried to put an end to its fifth-graders dating one another. Riverside Elementary School in Jeffersonville, Indiana sent a letter home to parents implementing a “zero dating policy” because it “leads to many broken hearts, which carry over into the classroom.”
Instead of dating, the school encouraged “strong friendships” between students. They still want children to play together at recess and work in groups during classroom activities, but the line is drawn at dating. Children at the school were allegedly dating and breaking up over the span of a few days, leading to heartbreak. All three fifth-grade classes were spoken to about the issue.
How did parents respond to the news? Some were not happy to say in the least. A parent of one of the students, Briana Bower, said, “Boundaries were crossed,” in a post on Facebook. “The school has no right to pressure my child and put a DEADLINE on when he ‘has to’ end his relationship. That’s MY child and I will not enforce this new rule of theirs.”
Other parents agreed with the school’s actions. “First of all, that shouldn’t even be going on in school,” Pam Smith said.
After hearing parents react, a spokesperson for the school district said that the school would no longer force students to end relationships. Greater Clark County Schools and Riverside Elementary said, “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,” in a statement released to WDRB News and parents.
“The intentions of our teachers were to protect student feelings, encourage developmentally appropriate friendships, and protect instructional time,” the letter clarified. “Our teachers would just like for parents to have conversations about staying focused on academics at school and maintaining healthy friendships.”
Even though the ban has been removed, parents will always be divided on the issue of kids dating. Some think that relationships are part of growing up and that there’s nothing wrong if it isn’t romantic. Others think it’s inappropriate at such a young age. Maybe it all depends on whether or not it’s your child.