New version of the bill allows parents to opt their child in, rather than out, of access to sensitive content
HARRISBURG – In his ongoing effort to provide parental control of student exposure to sexually explicit content in schools, Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) reintroduced legislation to make parents aware of the mature content their child may be provided in school and give them the ability to deny their own child access to such content.
“I have been contacted by parents who are concerned about inappropriate content in their children’s school curriculum and library books. In examples right here in Pennsylvania, parents have identified books and assignments that contain graphic, sexually explicit content that adults would be prohibited from viewing at work. Parents, understandably, are outraged,” Aument said.
In response to these concerns, Aument introduced Senate Bill 7, which would empower parents to shield their children from this graphic content by allowing them to control what only their own children are able to view in school.
Specifically, Senate Bill 7 would require schools to:
- Identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum, materials, and books.
- Create an opt-in policy that would:
- Notify parents of the sexually explicit content by including a list of the book titles on the form.
- Give parents the opportunity to review the materials.
- Require parents to give direct consent for their children to be provided or have access to sexually explicit content.
- Provide the child with non-explicit alternatives if their parents do not opt-in.
Importantly, Senate Bill 7 would not ban any books from any Pennsylvania school curriculum or library.
Rather than requiring parents to opt their children out of having access to explicit content, the current bill has an opt-in approach, which is currently used by a school in Aument’s district. The superintendent of the district explained that, “The use of the opt-in form was a way to ensure that we were honoring parent rights related to the upbringing and education of their children.”
“Providing parental notification and control of the content and materials being provided will go a long way to increasing communication and trust between parents and schools,” Aument said. “We must work together to find a bipartisan solution that honors parents, considers impacts to teachers and schools, and protects children from all backgrounds.”
Read more about Senate Bill 7 here.
CONTACT: Stephanie Applegate