As high school hallways and the entertainment press are abuzz about the alleged beating of pop star Rihanna at the hands of her pop star boyfriend, Chris Brown, some state lawmakers plan to send a message that dating violence is never acceptable.
Wednesday, a committee of senators approved a bill requiring the state Department of Education to train school personnel and students to recognize the signs of abusive relationships.
"A lot of young people have no idea what is the appropriate response to dating violence," said Sen. Phil Leventis, D-Sumter, who is the chief sponsor of the Senate bill. "They sure wouldn’t be able to figure it out by the media and what they see on television."
Neither the Senate bill nor the House version sponsored by Rep. Joan Brady, R-Richland, is in response to the Rihanna incident.
"But it's definitely timely because of Rihanna," said Lynn Hammond, healthy schools director for the state Department of Education.
"The fact Rihanna is going back to (Chris Brown,) Oprah said it best. They both need counseling," Hammond said.