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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: October 7, 2022 10:37 AM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Procedures for Banning and Requiring Books in Schools
Over the last several months, Pennsylvania has become the state with the second highest number of books banned from school libraries and curriculum by school boards. 

These book bans are an attempt to censor educators and restrict the information and educational materials that students can have access to in school. In addition, these effectively unilateral decisions made by school boards are extremely harmful to LGBTQ+ youth and students of color given that the subjects discussed in these so-called “inappropriate” and “explicit” books often discuss many serious and real issues impacting these communities. Moreover, these bans are widely unpopular among teachers and students. Yet, elected school boards continue to ignore public opinion and implement these egregious policies.
It’s time we establish uniform procedures that school boards follow before they can simply eliminate access to books for students. That is why I am introducing legislation that will establish a process that school boards must go through before voting to ban from the school districts’ libraries and curriculum. 
My forthcoming  legislation will require the Pennsylvania Department of Education and school board participate in at least two public hearings on the book in question, which will be moderated by professionals with ample knowledge on the book and its contents, prior to the school board initiating a vote to ban it. 
This legislation will ensure the voices of a district’s teachers, students, and community members are adequately heard when making these important decisions.
Students should not be subjected to restrictive and potentially hostile learning environments because the school board of their assigned school district made decisions about what books they can and can’t have access to in school. 
I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation that will set clear guidelines for school boards in making such decisions.

Introduced as HB2929