Gov. Abbott vetoes bill that would require schools to teach dating violence prevention

Court allows Texas to ban most abortions during virus crisis
Posted at 2:04 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 15:04:04-04

AUSTIN, TX — On June 18, Governor Greg Abbott vetoed a bill that would have required schools to teach children about family and dating violence, alongside identifying child abuse.

The postmortem bill was named the Christine Blubaugh Act, in honor of a 16-year-old that was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

Senate Bill 1109 would have provided students with class instruction on how to identify signs of abuse and how to report them to local law enforcement. In accordance with its legal text, SB 1109 would have required this instruction to occur at least once during middle school and at least twice during high school.

This bill received bipartisan support as it passed both the Texas House and Senate. However, upon reaching the desk of Governor Abbott, it was officially vetoed.

In an official statement, Governor Abbott stated he rejected the bill as it didn't offer parents a choice in opting out.

"These are important subjects and I respect the Senate author’s good intentions, but the bill fails to recognize the right of parents to opt their children out of the instruction," Governor Abbott wrote on his official website.

KRHD 25 News reached out to Voices for Children, a local organization of volunteers that advocate on behalf of children in court, who have experienced abuse or neglect, and received the following statement.

We at CASA understand the importance of parents having a voice in what information their children are provided in schools. At home is where we need to have good behavior and decision-making modeled, for all children and youth. What is concerning is that at least 95% of all children who suffer from abuse and neglect are at the hands of someone they know. It’s a tough balance that our decision-makers have to make. This time the prevention presented didn’t include the parents. Maybe next time the Bill will include preventative language for the parents too.
Kimberly Martinez, executive director, CASA

In the closing of his statement, Governor Abbott expressed he would be open to working with Legislature to find a 'narrower approach'.

While unconfirmed, it is possible this bill could be reintroduced during the upcoming summer sessions that follow this most recent 87th Legislative Session.

To read the complete version of Senate Bill 1109, read here.