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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2020 12:41 PM
From: Senator Timothy P. Kearney
To: All Senate members
Subject: Age-Appropriate Consent Education
I will soon introduce legislation to improve Pennsylvania’s policies preventing sexual assault and abuse, and improve all relationships by requiring consent education in school curriculum.

Consent education in middle/high school alone and in terms of sexual relationships is not 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.
Spread out through K-12, consent education would cover the definition of consent, the importance of receiving consent in daily interactions, and the consequences of individuals for acting without receiving consent from others involved.

When children understand the concept of consent at an earlier age, they will be better prepared to understand when their personal boundaries are being violated, and report to trusted adults when they have been harmed. When teenagers have incorporated consent into their instincts, they will be more confident navigating intimate relationships, including saying no to unwanted advances and recognizing when someone is trying to take advantage of them.
Lack of consent in relationships, resulting in date rape and other forms of sexual assault, 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.

This legislation is based on SB 620 of 2019-2020, sponsored by Senator Dinniman.
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 SB1092