Texas governor vetoes bipartisan bill to require schools to teach dating violence prevention

Texas Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottTexas school district pulls 400 books from libraries after state GOP lawmaker's inquiry DOJ sues over Texas's redistricting plan Sunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant MORE (R) on Friday vetoed a bill that would require schools to teach children about family and dating violence and child abuse.

The bill, named the Christine Blubaugh Act in honor of a 16-year-old who was killed by her ex-boyfriend, 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 San Antonio Express-News notes.

The legislation was approved by bipartisan votes in the Texas House and Senate before being sent to the governor.

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In his official veto proclamation, 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 signaled that he would consider signing a variation of the Christine Blubaugh Act if it was reworked.

"I look forward to working with the Legislature on a narrower approach," he said.

Bill sponsor state Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) told the Express-News that he was disappointed, but hopeful the governor would work with him on finding a solution in the next legislative session.

"Young love is supposed to be beautiful," West said. "Young love isn't supposed to hurt, and no, it isn't supposed to kill. But unfortunately, it does."