|Posted:||April 14, 2023 09:49 AM|
|From:||Representative Christopher M. Rabb and Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, Rep. Tarah Probst, Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Establishing procedures to protect public school students’ right to read and learn|
|It is unfortunate that 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, school boards continue to ignore public opinion and implement these egregious book policies.
It is time we establish uniform procedures that school boards must follow before they can eliminate access to books for students. That is why we are introducing legislation that will establish a process for school boards to adhere to before voting to ban, or require, any book in school libraries or curricula.
This forthcoming legislation (formerly HB 2929) would further prohibit school districts from banning books simply because they discuss topics like race and LGBTQ+ issues. 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.
Join us in protecting students’ right to read and learn in our public schools across our commonwealth.
Introduced as HB1374