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PA Teachers Union Opposes Bill on Sexual Materials in School

A Pennsylvania teachers union opposes a bill that would warn parents before their children are shown sexually explicit material in school.

The bill would require schools to notify parents if students will be given sexually explicit material as part of a school’s curriculum or if they want to view library material that is sexually explicit. Parents would be given the option to keep this material from their children.

AFT Pennsylvania sent a letter to state lawmakers explaining their opposition to the bill, calling it the “book banning bill,” and saying it was “dangerous and oppressive” and part of a “bigoted national campaign to silence educators and shame LGBTQIA+ youth.”

The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, took to Twitter to blast the union’s position. “It’s unfortunate than an organization representing teachers would think that requiring parents be notified when their children are provided pornography in schools and including them in their children’s health and education is ‘dangerous and oppressive,’” he wrote.  

At a committee meeting where lawmakers voted to move the bill forward, Sen. Michele Brooks, R-Mercer, said parents sent lawmakers explicit material their children were given in school, but she could not email the material to other lawmakers because of Senate policy about emailing sexually explicit content.

The union also opposed a bill that would prohibit instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation to children in grades pre-k through fifth grade, as is already required by Pennsylvania teaching standards. The union labeled it the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” because of its similarity to a bill in Florida. Neither bill prohibits teachers from saying the word “gay.”  

Suzanne Bates

Suzanne Bates is Senior Writer and Researcher with Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector workers offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Prior to joining Americans for Fair Treatment in 2020, Suzanne worked as a journalist for the Associated Press, as Policy Director with the Yankee Institute, as a contributor for The Hartford Courant, and as a regular commentator for WNPR’s The Wheelhouse.