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Reactions from organizations and the Wolf administration to Senate's passage of limiting sexual content in schools bill

The bills now head to the House for consideration.
Credit: WPMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Senate voted on Wednesday to pass two bills that limit discussions of gender identity and sexually explicit content in schools

The Pennsylvania Family Institute released a statement Thursday applauding the Senate's passage. 

“We thank each State Senator who voted to support the involvement of moms and dads in the education of their children," said President and CEO of Pennsylvania Family Institute, Michael Greer. 

“These important bills will help make sure that in Pennsylvania public school classrooms, children are protected from inappropriate materials and coercive indoctrination. Parents deserve every opportunity to be actively engaged in the education of their child, especially on sensitive issues involving human sexuality and gender.”

Elizabeth Rementer, the Press Secretary to Governor Wolf, released the following statement: 

The governor has made it clear time and time again that Pennsylvania is welcoming to all, and hate has no place here, and he would veto any legislation that discriminates against LGBTQIA+ Pennsylvanians. It's a disgrace that these legislators are pushing through LGBTQIA+ discrimination legislation during Pride Month. Further, the attempt to censor curricula and our educators is extremely concerning. Further, it usurps the ability of individual school districts to determine what's in the best interest of its students, staff and residents.

The Wolf Administration also released a statement when it was first announced that the bills would be going to the Senate. In the statement, the bills are referred to as a "copy-paste version of Florida's discriminatory 'Don't Say Gay' bill." 

Senator Tim Kearney (D-26) released the following statement concerning the passage of the bills.

We are now at deadline to finalize the state budget.  Instead, my GOP colleagues are ignoring the fiscal needs of the Commonwealth, sowing seeds of hatred and furthering their own political agenda by prioritizing the passage of Senate Bill 1277 and 1278. These bills are hateful and covert attempts to alienate the LGBTQIA+ community and suppress freedom of thought. I voted no on both bills and will continue to advocate against any legislation that does not promote equity, especially in education.

Senator Lindsey M. Williams (D-38) released the following statement: 

Pennsylvania’s Don’t Say Gay Bill and new Book Ban are part of a nationwide effort to ban anything inclusive or affirming to kids. These bills will absolutely make our schools a more hostile environment to the students who are the most vulnerable by telling them that they and their families aren’t “normal.” 

The same educators who we applauded for keeping our kids learning through the pandemic are going to leave the profession in droves, rather than risk getting personally sued or having to hide their own identity, like we are already seeing happen in Florida. Property taxpayers will pay the price as districts scramble to pay for frivolous lawsuits and additional liability insurance. These bills hurt our children, our families, our communities, and all of us.

The Senate voted 29-21 to pass Senate Bill 1278, which would prohibit classroom instruction of gender identity and sexual orientation for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students. This is consistent with the timeline for the existing academic standards on general sex education beginning, which is generally sixth grade. 

They also passed Senate Bill 1277, in a vote of 30-20. The bill would require schools to identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum and materials and notify parents that their child's coursework includes such content. 

The bills will now head to the Pa. House of Representatives for consideration. 

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