ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
SB 1278 overview:
- SB 1278 falsely equates discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity with sex education.
- SB 1278 falsely asserts that sexual orientation and gender identity are tantamount to ideas, and erroneously requires “neutrality” on the “idea” of certain people merely existing.
- SB 1278 then applies that standard of “neutrality” to undefined “classroom instruction,” prohibiting any acknowledgement of gay or trans people in grades K-5 and with vague caveats in grades 6-12, which actually makes the bill more restrictive than Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, which was limited to K-3 instruction.
- Finally, the private right of action provided under SB 1278 will chill speech and ensure that the most censorious views on gender and sexuality are imposed on everyone else.
SB 1278 will create dangerous confusion about what teachers, staff and students are allowed to say and study in school. It will limit teachers' ability to give students the education and support they need, and it will foster, at best, an information vacuum or worse, a hostile environment that further endangers already-vulnerable young people. And most brazenly, SB 1278 proposes a framework that operates like religious instruction attempting to masquerade as free speech, a pernicious, not to mention unconstitutional, precedent to set.
Check the bill's status here.