Senator Ryan Aument is sponsoring a bill to give parents control of their children’s access to sexually explicit content in schools. According to his website, Aument says he has been contacted by parents concerned about inappropriate materials in their schools. 

But he says even debating the matter has hurdles. When he attempted to share examples of questionable content with fellow legislators by email for review purposes, he was informed that the images violated policy.

“After consulting with our in-house legal counsel about the extreme sensitive nature in the images, we were informed that it would be a violation of our internal workplace policy to send copies of these explicit images using our Senate of Pennsylvania email accounts,” Aument said. “We were also informed that we could not publish the images on our Senate of Pennsylvania websites unless we blurred the sensitive content and placed a firewall on the web page to screen whether users were eighteen years of age or older before they were permitted to view it.”

Even though the images and excerpts from the books are located in numerous school districts across the state, elected officials are prohibited from emailing or sharing them from their state email addresses. 

Aument’s team created a page on his website where adults can view the images and selected content. Aument told Broad + Liberty that no media outlet would publish the content, despite their requests for copies of the images. To the best of our knowledge, Broad + Liberty and Delaware Valley Journal are the only news sources that have provided links to or published the questionable materials.

Aument represents the 36th District in Lancaster county and serves as the Majority Whip. His bill, Senate Bill 7, would require parents to opt-in to allow their children access to sexually explicit content in school.

“This bill was introduced to address concerns from parents around the state that explicit content was included in their child’s curriculum, materials, or library books without their consent or knowledge,” Aument said. He was quick to add that the bill is “not a book ban nor an attack on the LGBTQ community.”

The bill’s intent is to identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum, materials, and books. It further creates an opt-in policy that would a) notify parents of the sexually explicit content by including a list of the book titles on the form; b) give parents the opportunity to review the materials; c) require parents to give direct consent for their children to be provided or have access to sexually explicit content; and d) provide the child with non-explicit alternatives if their parents do not opt-in.

The Senator is “open to criticism” about the bill and welcomes the opportunity to work across the aisle to get the legislation passed and on Governor Shapiro’s desk. An earlier version of the bill contained language that allowed parents to “opt-out,” which has been updated to “opt-in.” Senator Aument states that he is open to discussion around that particular language and other aspects of the bill. He understands that there will be some burden to school districts in terms of identifying sexually explicit content and managing the opt-in process. According to Aument, these are all discussion points on the table.

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Aument believes the bill is likely to pass the Senate, and they are assessing support in the House and the Governor’s office before moving the bill to a vote in the Senate. Aument is hopeful for bipartisan support and discussion to pass a bill that respects parents’ decisions for their children without removing any books from the schools. In a former version of the bill, there were some supportive Democrats in the House and Senate.

With Democratic control of the House of Representatives, bipartisan support is critical in order for the bill to be passed. Aument said he and his team have worked hard to craft a moderate bill that would protect parental decisions in either direction. The bill does not call for the removal of any books or materials.

“This bill does not ban any books from any school library or curriculum. It only empowers parents to control the content their own children are exposed to, which does not impact what books and materials are available to the student body.”

Headlines across the country and locally focus on book policies as an anti-LGBT agenda. Senator Aument said that this proposed bill is not written to harm or attack any group of students in our commonwealth. “Teaching children to be kind, understanding, and appreciate differences in others is not the same as having explicit conversations about sexual orientation or sex. These lessons can be taught without exposing children to the problematic sexually explicit content. This bill would not impact the foundation and core function of anti-bullying curriculum in Pennsylvania schools.”

Once the bill passes the Senate, it will move to the House of Representatives. If the bill passes in both the Senate and House, Governor Josh Shapiro will ultimately determine whether the bill becomes law.

Beth Ann Rosica resides in West Chester, has a Ph.D. in Education, and has dedicated her career to advocating on behalf of at-risk children and families. She covers education issues for Broad + Liberty. Contact her at

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