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New Texas law requires schools to teach about sexual abuse and violence

Posted at 5:54 PM, Dec 02, 2021

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Unfortunately, many people across Texas and the United States have faced many forms of violence and abuse, whether that’s sexual or domestic abuse or family violence.

“Whether it be domestic violence, sexual violence, whatever violence it is, it’s so prevalent, that there is somebody in everybody’s life that has been affected,” said Maribel Arredondo, the prevention and education manager at the Purple Door.

The Purple Door is a non-profit that advocates for victims of violence and abuse. They have a shelter that houses survivors, and it runs everyday at all hours.

Texas Senate Bill 9, also known as the Christine Blubough Act, was passed by Texas Lawmakers and was enacted on Thursday. It requires public middle and high schools to educate students on not just spotting child abuse and family and dating violence, but also how to prevent it.

Workers like Arredondo at the Purple Door have been educating students in schools about abuse for years and said the new law would be a good step in helping students recognize the signs of violence.

“If it comes to, they’re checking your phone all the time, you can’t see that person, you can’t see your friends anymore because they’re no good for you. Those little signs, again, while people may think it’s jealousy, it’s very controlling. Or somebody asking you to call them every ten minutes,” Arredondo said about the signs.

Edward Salazar works at the Purple Door as a community educator and said he used to work in the probation industry. He said he would see children who were abused go through jails. Salazar said abuse can be a cycle and some youth can develop bad behavior because of it.

“I've seen youth get in trouble very early on in their lives to the point where they’re committing crimes and getting detained in juvenile detention and it all stems from a violence that they’re experiencing or an abuse that they’re experiencing and many times it stems from that,” Salazar said.

According to TexProtects, on average, about 180 children are confirmed victims of abuse or neglect every day.

Molly Voyles, the interim policy director for the Texas Council on Family Violence, said it’s important for children to have a trusted adult to tell about the abuse. She said adults should build up a child’s resiliency.

“One of the biggest things a supportive parent and really any community member can do is to honor the strength that someone exhibited by sharing a story, by sharing where they were, by making sure they understand the violence is not their fault,” Voyles said.

The law also requires schools to teach about sex trafficking and notify a parent if their child is identified as a victim of dating violence. The law allows parents to choose whether their child takes part in the education.

We reached out to Corpus Christi and Flour Bluff ISDs about when they will be implementing the education or if they have courses on it but they did not comment.