PA Senate Pass Bills Restricting Sexually Explicit Content In Schools

The Pennsylvania Senate passed Bill 1277 on Wednesday. Bill 1277 would require districts to identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum and materials and notify parents that their child’s coursework includes such content.

According to the Pennsylvania Grand Assembly, Bill 1277 is an Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, in terms and courses of study, providing for parental notification relating to instructional materials and books containing sexually explicit content.

Senator Ryan Aument posted a memorandum on March 31, introducing Senate Bill 1277. It reads:

“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 has 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.”