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06/22/2024 07:34 PM
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 31, 2022 04:23 PM
From: Senator Ryan P. Aument
To: All Senate members
Subject: Parental Control of Student Exposure to Sexually Explicit Content in Schools
In recent months, I have been contacted by parents concerned with inappropriate content of their children’s school curriculum.
Though this issue is certainly not unique to Pennsylvania, recent media attention to the books, curriculum, and content in schools in other states have spurred many local parents to ask more questions about their children’s education.  In examples right here in Pennsylvania, parents have identified books and assignments provided to their children that contain sexually explicit content that adults would be prohibited from viewing while at work.
Parents, understandably, are outraged.  And when voicing their concerns to school administrators, many have felt like their concerns were dismissed or trivialized.  This is unacceptable.  Parents must be confident that their children are receiving a quality education in our schools without being exposed to inappropriate, sexually explicit content.
In this day and age, when it seems increasingly unlikely that a community will reach consensus about what is appropriate educational content for children, we must empower parents to individually make that decision.
To that end, my bill would require schools to identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum, materials, and books and notify parents that their child’s coursework includes such content or that a book their child wishes to view in the school library contains explicit content.  Parents would then have the opportunity to review the materials and the power to opt their children out of that coursework or prevent their child from viewing that particular book from the library.  If the parent decides to opt their child out of coursework, the child will be provided with a non-explicit alternative.
The power of parents to opt their children out of coursework containing this explicit content is consistent with PA Code § 4.4, which allows children to be excused from specific instruction.
Providing parental notification and control of the content and materials being provided to their children will go a long way to increasing communication and trust between parents and their schools.  Please join me in supporting this bill.

Introduced as SB1277