Despite a bipartisan push from state lawmakers, Texas public middle and high schools won’t be required to teach students about family and dating violence and child abuse.
The Texas Senate legislation was among the 21 bills vetoed by Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Named the Christine Blubaugh Act in honor of a 16-year-old who was killed by her ex-boyfriend, the bill would have provided students with instruction on how to identify signs of abuse and how to report it. Lessons surrounding these topics would be mandated at least once in the middle school curriculum and twice at the high school level, the news outlet reported.
The legislation was approved by bipartisan votes in the Texas House and Senate before being sent to the governor.
In his veto proclamation posted by The Hill, Abbott said he rejected the legislation officially known as Senate Bill 1109 on the grounds that it didn't offer parents a choice.
"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," he wrote.
"I have vetoed similar legislation before on this ground, because we must safeguard parental rights regarding this type of instruction."
The governor suggested he’d consider signing a variation of the Christine Blubaugh Act if it was reworked.
"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,” he wrote.
"I have vetoed similar legislation before on this ground, because we must safeguard parental rights regarding this type of instruction. I look forward to working with the Legislature on a narrower approach."
The bill’s sponsor, Democrat state Sen. Royce West, stated he was disappointed at Abbott’s veto, but hopeful the governor would work with him on finding a solution in the next legislative session, the Express-News reported.
"Young love is supposed to be beautiful," West said. "It isn't supposed to hurt, and no, it isn't supposed to kill. But unfortunately, it does."
Texas students receive some education on family and dating violence prevention, but the new bill would have implemented more specific mandates, including four to six hours of education over several years, the Express-News reported.
The State Board of Education met in the fall to revise the state’s health curriculum standards and included several provision on dating and family violence prevention, the news outlet adds.
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