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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 15, 2019 04:22 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Age-Appropriate Consent Education
I will soon introduce legislation to require consent education in school curriculum including: definition of consent, the importance of receiving consent in daily interactions, and the consequences to individuals for acting without receiving consent from others involved.

When we focus on requiring consent education in middle/high school alone and in terms of relationships that involve intimate behavior, it may not be as effective as teaching our students these fundamental skills early in their education. Beginning in elementary school, we need to teach that consent is a fundamental value in human relationships. The approach would of course be age-appropriate and each school district would decide how and through what part of curriculum consent should be taught. For example, in elementary schools, the importance of asking permission from a classmate, whether in working together in the classroom or playing together on the playground, would be stressed.

Lack of consent in relationships is a frequent and serious problem today and by starting young and teaching consent as a fundamental value in human interaction, we will develop and strengthen the importance of this value in adolescence and adulthood. Earlier this month I had the chance to join my friends at The Crime Victims' Center of Chester County, Inc. to mark April 2019 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Their theme for this year is "I Ask", a simple statement yet one to empower all ages to put consent into practice.

I hope you will join me in supporting this bill to teach the importance of asking for consent from day one of school and that “no means no”.

Introduced as SB620