HARRISBURG – The Senate today approved by a bipartisan vote legislation empowering parents to protect their own child from accessing sexually explicit content at school, without impacting the books available to other students, said Sen. Pat Stefano (R-32).
“Parents know their children better than anyone else,” Stefano said. “They should be able to make their own decisions about what kind of books their child reads.”
Senate Bill 7 would require schools to:
- Identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum, materials and books.
- Create an opt-in policy that would:
- Notify parents of the sexually explicit content by including a list of the book titles on the form.
- Give parents the opportunity to review the materials.
- Require parents to give direct consent for their children to be provided or have access to sexually explicit content.
- Provide children with non-explicit alternatives if their parents do not opt in.
“The bill will simply identify sexually explicit content and empower parents to further examine the material, so they can decide if it is appropriate for their own child,” Stefano said. “This would not remove any books from school libraries but rather put ‘parental controls’ around text parents deem as more mature-natured. This is no different than the parental controls parents often put on their children’s smartphones.”
Importantly, Senate Bill 7 followed a non-partisan, thorough two-year process – including conversations with parents, school administrators, teachers and librarians – to come up with the current language. It would not ban any books from Pennsylvania school curriculum or libraries, but rather empower parents to control only what their own children have access to in school. Empowering parents and families is a priority of Pennsylvania Senate Republicans.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Amanda Cuteri, 717-787-7175