Zero dating policy: Indiana elementary reconsiders student dating ban after parent concerns

JEFFERSONVILLE, Indiana -- What if you were told you had two days to end things with your boyfriend or girlfriend? That's what teachers told students at a school in Indiana.

Some people said it's a good idea, but others think the school went too far. After all, we are talking about 5th graders.

"He came home really upset," said parent Briana Bower. "He thought he was going to have to break up with his girlfriend and we're like, 'Aiden, no. They can't, they can't do that.'"

Bower said teachers first talked to her 10-year-old son and other fifth graders, but also received a text from his teacher that morning.

"You're telling my kid you have to break up with his girlfriend before you have my consent to even talk to him. That's a parental choice," Bower said.

The letter sent home Wednesday read in part: "To combat students having broken hearts, we have implemented a zero dating policy."

Students were given Tuesday and Wednesday to make sure that relationships have ended.

"They're worried about the heartbreak but what about the anxiety that comes with that?" Bower said.

Others agree with the school.

"First of all, that shouldn't even be going on in school," said Pam Smith. "Sending a letter home is probably letting the parents know that there is some things going on at school that shouldn't be. So yeah, sending a letter home is probably a good thing."

The greater Clark County School District, which has 75 5th graders, said it received concerns from two parents.

The district and Riverside Elementary sent a statement to WDRB and emailed parents Thursday.

It said in part: "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."

Although the statement does not specify, a district spokesperson tells WDRB that teachers are no longer encouraging and enforcing students to end relationships.

"My main goal is it doesn't happen to other kids down the road," Bower said.

The email to parents also encourages them to talk to their kids about focusing on their school work and friendships.