The bill gives a voice to ALL parents regardless of their views on the sexually explicit content found in PA schools.
HARRISBURG – The Senate today approved legislation with a bipartisan vote to empower parents to protect their own child from accessing sexually explicit content at school, without impacting the books available to other students, according to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36).
Senate Bill 7 would make parents aware of the sexually explicit content in their child’s school and give them the ability to limit their own child’s access to such content. This legislation is the result of a thorough, two-year process that involved listening to the concerns of families, school administrators, teachers, and librarians in an effort to draft a proposal that made all sides feel heard and respected.
“Many parents go to great lengths to protect their children from explicit content on smart phones, TV, and the music they listen to – all of which have parental controls and rating systems to assist parents in their efforts,” said Aument. “Parents are frustrated that they now must protect their children from this content while at school, without the same easy parental control options. It shouldn’t be easier to protect your child from explicit content on Netflix than in their middle school.”
Opponents of Senate Bill 7 label it a book ban and cite concerns that it targets materials by and for the LGBTQ community. Aument rejects these mischaracterizations, saying they do not accurately or fairly represent the plain reading of the bill:
“Senate Bill 7 is NOT a book ban, it is NOT an attack on the LGBTQ community, and it is NOT an attempt to censor minorities or any other group,” said Aument. “Senate Bill 7 strictly identifies sexually explicit content, wherever it may be found and regardless of who it may be written by or about, and allows parents to decide if it’s appropriate for their own child. It would not remove a single book from school library shelves.”
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.
“These images truly are as graphic as we’ve been saying they are. The hearing last week exposed that, and the vote today to pass this bill affirms Senate Republicans’ commitment to ensuring that parents have a way to protect their child from this extremely inappropriate content.”
Senate Bill 7 will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Pennsylvanians over the age of 18 can view examples of the sexually explicit content in question on a webpage Sen. Aument launched in 2022 to help educate the public on the extreme nature of these books. [Examples of Sexually Explicit Content in PA Schools]
CONTACT: Stephanie Applegate