20 lawmakers urge governor to allow adaptation of Alaska's teen dating violence classes for national use

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Apr. 29—JUNEAU — Twenty Alaska lawmakers wrote a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy this week urging him to grant a copyright release to the family behind "Bree's Law," which would allow them to adapt the state's teen dating violence prevention curriculum for nationwide use.

Butch and Cindy Moore — parents of Breanna "Bree" Moore, who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2014 — were told by the state Department of Education and Early Development earlier in April that they could not make minor revisions to the state's course materials. The Dunleavy administration said that the curriculum, which is currently being used by some of Alaska's largest school districts, needed to be further evaluated for its effectiveness in preventing teen dating violence before it could be made available for free across the country.

Last year, Congress earmarked $950,000 for the Moore family to develop a national teen dating violence prevention curriculum, alongside a separate $40 million appropriation over five years for national demonstration projects. The Moores said the $950,000 grant would allow them to make minor revisions to the state curriculum to remove Alaska-specific references, but the grant was not enough to develop an entirely new set of course materials.

In response to the Dunleavy administration's decision to decline the Moore's request, 20 state legislators — 15 Democrats, three independents and two Republicans — wrote the governor Wednesday, asking that he reverse the administration's decision.

"Bree's Law is a celebrated and successful public safety effort taught in classrooms across Alaska," the legislators said. "We strongly believe the Bree's Law curriculum will help prevent dating violence and result in safer interpersonal relationships among teens across the nation."

Earlier in the month, the Moores expressed confusion about the Dunleavy administration's decision to block the copyright release, and said that they had been working well for months with members of the governor's office on plans to adapt the state's curriculum. The copyright request denial came fewer than three weeks after the Moores testified against Dunleavy's "parental rights" in schools bill.

Members of the governor's office reached out to the Moores recently to set up a meeting after the copyright release request was denied, Butch Moore said by email. The governor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the purpose of that planned meeting or whether Dunleavy would support allowing the state's curriculum to be revised.