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Proposed Pennsylvania School Book Ban

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Senate passed two controversial bills that would potentially set new rules For how library books as well as textbooks and other school reading material are accessed by students.

Senate Bill 7 would require schools to identify what they deem as sexually explicit content in school curriculum And have parents complete an opt-in form providing permission for their students to have access to those books.

Senate bill 340 requires every school in the commonwealth to post a link on its website for every textbook used in the curriculum Along with a syllabus or summary and the state academic standards for each course.

This bill was vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2021.

The sponsor of Senate Bill 7, Republican Sen. Ryan Aument of Lancaster County responded to opponents of the bill by saying:

“Senate Bill 7 is NOT a book ban, it is NOT an attack on the LGBTQ community, and it is NOT an attempt to censor minorities or any other group,” “Senate Bill 7 strictly identifies sexually explicit content, wherever it may be found and regardless of who it may be written by or about and allows parents to decide if it’s appropriate for their own child. It would not remove a single book from school library shelves.”

The Pennsylvania State Educations Association’s President Aaron Chapin responded to these bills with a press release in which he stated:

“These bills are completely unnecessary mandates on educators and school librarians who are overworked and underpaid. Parents already have full access to school districts’ curriculum under current law, and they already have every right to make decisions about the books and materials their children can access and read in class or through the school library.”

Chapin urged legislators to instead redirect efforts into hiring and retaining educators. In the press release he said:

“Our educators and school librarians are hardworking professionals, and we need to let them do their jobs. Instead of advancing legislation that would restrict reading and learning opportunities for all students, lawmakers should instead focus on how to recruit and retain more certified school librarians and reading specialists to assist students and families in their reading journey.”

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